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A puzzling (for me ) occurrence... SOLVED NATRIX MAURA SNAKES

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Offline quentin

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« on: May 10, 2013, 19:19 PM »
Earlier this week I came across this collection of young Montpellier snakes. (They are Montpellier snakes aren't they?) There was at least one more but while I was struggling to distract five dogs (two with a bad anti-snake record) it sensibly hissed off elsewhere. My question is "What where they doing all in a heap in this fashion?" I initially assumed they had just hatched but there was no sign of eggs and they are also quite long. The only book I have which mentions eggs and hatching time suggest they usually hatch in mid August. One picture is a close up which shows at least one snake has an opaque covering over its eyes. Could they be shedding their skins? If so why are they all together? My guess is that they have just hatched from eggs somewhere and were trying to get some warmth. A couple of weeks ago I came across a much larger Montpellier snake in exactly the same place. Could that have been a gravid mum? Are snakes born blind? All these questions....I await your erudite replies.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 13:33 PM by Clive »

Offline Isidro

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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 22:53 PM »
The species of these snakes is Natrix maura. The one with bluish eyes is about to shed its skin, but this is casual and doesn't have nothing to see with this behaviour. This behaviour is (an almost sure guess, but still a guess) a group of males trying to get some romance with a receptive female.
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Offline quentin

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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2013, 07:58 AM »
Isidro,

Thanks for the reply. I'm sticking with Montpellier snakes. I have looked at an enlargement of the photo and the configuration of the scales on top of the head (including the position of the nostrils) and it suggests Montpellier. Also the overall physical appearance did not match with Viperine snake.

I am trying to find a herpetologist who may be able to shed more light on the behaviour.

Andrew

Offline Sue

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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2013, 20:39 PM »
Hi Quentin,
I would also suggest Natrix maura in agreement with Isidro, the eyes are positioned high, lack the 'fierce look' and the white line usually seen in front of the eye of the Malpolon monspessulanus
a great find and well done to get the dogs away and return with a camera,
Sue
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Offline quentin

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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013, 14:48 PM »
A HUGE apology for doubting you, Isidro and Sue!

I sent the photo to someone who should know what they are talking about and he confirmed the snakes are Viperine. There were many reasons why this didn't seem likely at the time but it seems as though I am wrong. I suppose it had to happen...

Yours apologetically,

Andy

Offline Clive

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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2014, 13:31 PM »
Gosh I didn't know I was so behind with the posts on the forum!!! eek...

yep Sue and Isidro are correct so I'll ad my vote for the identification..... Just seen a lovely Montpelier snake outside my house in Grazalema... As you can see the eye stripe is a big factor in identifying these snakes when you can get close enough.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 13:33 PM by Clive »
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