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Anyone clued up on snakes?


Angie
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We found a snake curled up around our water stopcock in the garden - its down a nice deep hole so safe and cosy. It was black with yellow rings, about a finger in diameter and from what we could estimate about 40 - 50 cms long. A friend in UK who knows a lot about these things said it sounded like a King snake and the photos online would back this up. However, these only seem to be found in the USA. Can I assume therefore that this has escaped from someone's collection or perhaps its a different type of snake. Can anyone help and advise especially if dangerous. Don't think my husband will be turning the water off again anytime in the near future in any case! Thank you - think I posted original message in wrong section, sorry
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Personally I would go to the Mairie and ask them for help as if it is a venomous creature, someone could get bitten or worse.Failing that, enquire at the local Gendarmerie as to the nearest expert in reptiles who might come out and take it away. If it were me, I would want the thing removed regardless of being poisonous or not or even a pet. Better safe than sorry!
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[quote user="Angie"]We found a snake curled up around our water stopcock in the garden - its down a nice deep hole so safe and cosy. It was black with yellow rings, about a finger in diameter and from what we could estimate about 40 - 50 cms long. A friend in UK who knows a lot about these things said it sounded like a King snake ... <snip>[/quote]

(IMO, 'He don't know so much  ...').  'Pound to a penny' it's a Western Whip Snake, Fr. Couleuvre verte et jaune, Hierophis viridiflavus.  Have a look at this photo:

http://www.natureswindow.dk/HBR/hbr675-25.jpg

... and any others you can find on Tinterweb.  However, just be aware that colourings and marking can and do vary with snakes - this is because, for reasons I won't go into here, appearance isn't very important to them.

A common enuf species altho', like all snakes in France, in decline.  Neither poisonous nor dangerous.

P.s  For all practical purposes, there are only 2 species of poisonous snakes in France:  Adders, the same species as you find in UK, but which only found in the north of France; and Asps which are found only in the south.  These latter are generally timorous beasties, but problems can occur because their preferred method of defence is to flatten out and keep still.  This doesn't really work with over-excited dogs, however, who can occassionally suffer the consequences of their boisterousness....

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[quote user="Val_2"]Personally I would go to the Mairie and ask them for help as if it is a venomous creature, someone could get bitten or worse.Failing that, enquire at the local Gendarmerie as to the nearest expert in reptiles who might come out and take it away. If it were me, I would want the thing removed regardless of being poisonous or not or even a pet. Better safe than sorry![/quote]

Spoken like a true native there, Val2.  Why not just chop the innocuous thing in half with a spade?

Jeez ...  50 years of environmental education and what have we learnt?

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Cannot abide snakes of any kind. Horrible nasty slithery things which bite or constrict you. I am not alone either, most people hate them and would not trust them not to attack. Look at the .DMail online at the moment where a snake has bitten a dog in a house in Plymouth and lives under the floorboards.
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[quote user="Val_2"]Cannot abide snakes of any kind. Horrible nasty slithery things which bite or constrict you. I am not alone either, most people hate them and would not trust them not to attack. Look at the .DMail online at the moment where a snake has bitten a dog in a house in Plymouth and lives under the floorboards.[/quote]

I feel much the same about dogs. Nasty hair-dropping things which bite or jump at you. I don't trust them not to attack. Apart from the fact that they foul almost every quiet lane and grassy sward.

Not like snakes, which make every attempt to get away from you.

Around here they also chop up the beautiful big green lizards which are getting rarer and rarer.

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Have a look at this

If it is a western whip snake as has been said they are harmless. If you corner one they can bite but they are not poisonous and to chop one in half is pure stupidity!!! Sorry, but that is the reaction of someone who should NEVER step outside of a very large town!

They are beautiful creatures and if they are disturbed they will just vanish. We were on a walk on the garigue today with our village walking group, the last one before the holidays. I was wearing a pair of good all terrain sandals and one of the blokes asked me if I was not afraid of getting bitten by a snake? Of course I wasn't. 2 reasons, our groupe can't walk without talking and not quietly either and all of the tramping feet would have scared any snake for miles around. A third reason is that I look where I am walking.

So please don't go killing everything you don't like. Pine processionary catterpillars I make an exception for in our garden though..

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[quote user="Val_2"]Cannot abide snakes of any kind. Horrible nasty slithery things which bite or constrict you. I am not alone either, most people hate them and would not trust them not to attack. [/quote]

Well, I find it sad that you feel that way, Val_2, allowing stupid, irrational prejudices to get the better of enlightened knowledge.  But then that's the world we increasingly seem to be living in ...  It's a shame, and it does you no credit, that you should be part of it..

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I NEVER said anything about chopping snakes up at all. I have a phobia about snakes that slither just as others have phobias about dogs,cats, flying,claustrauphobia,spiders etc. I would NEVER kill an animal for the sake of it like some people would do. I just do not like snakes, end of! Here we have an abundance of fire salamanders due to the natural water in our well and I love those little fellas. You should not assume anything about anyone from what is printed on a computer screen, it does not convey the real person and you do not know me.
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SWMBO has just walked within a couple of feet of a small Montpelier snake that lives in our garden. We stood watching it for several minutes. It was quite content the lay on the thyme and sunbathe for that time before it went into the rosemary around our pool. A lovely sight of a pretty snake!!

It was Ventodo who said about chopping it in 1/2 Val.

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[quote user="Val_2"]I NEVER said anything about chopping snakes up at all. [/quote]

And I never said you did.  However, what you DID say, and it was these words which I chose to caracterise as stupid and irrational, was:

[quote user="Val_2"]Horrible nasty

slithery things which bite or constrict you. I am not alone either, most

people hate them and would not trust them not to attack. [/quote]

(And I remind you that this was following your earlier advice that the mere presence of an unidentified species of snake was something worth consulting the Mairie or the Gendarmarie about ...)

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[quote user="Jonzjob"]SWMBO has just walked within a couple of feet of a small Montpelier snake that lives in our garden. <snip> [/quote]

Nice, Jonzjob.  They're meant to be fairly common round here, but - and this despite their name! - I rarely see any [8-)].  "Discrete" is how I've seen them described ...

Handsome beasts, as you say.  And the adults can be impressively large ...[:-))]

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Thanks all for your replies - it could possibly be a Western Whip Snake as suggested by ventodue but the description of it online (albeit unproblematic to humans) sounds scary!

"Though normally discreet it can be obstinate and aggressive, thrashing the ground with its tail and hissing when angered, sometimes tilting its head back and then striking and biting with force, it is this force which gives it the ability to overcome its victims but is of no serious concern to humans. It is also an agile climber weaving its way with speed through bushes and hedgerows"

We seem to have acquired a number of mice recently so its hunting skills may come in useful! If we see the snake again I will upload a photo.

Thanks again all you knowledgeable people!
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This is one of our little visitors and because it was so close to the house I picked it up carefully with a pair of BBQ tongs, put it in the bucket, where the photo was taken, and walked a couple of hundred yards up the lane out of the village and put it in a drainage ditch. Safely out of the way.

[URL=http://s47.photobucket.com/user/Jonzjob/media/Nature/Littlesnake1.jpg.html][IMG]http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f180/Jonzjob/Nature/Littlesnake1.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

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This is a whip snake, roughly 5ft that used to live under the water heater until I moved the heater. Now it's sunbathing under the ridge tiles. Stroked it's belly and it pushed it's belly forward, the tart!

I can hear it moving behind the placo but as it can't reverse it slides up and then U turns and back out again.

[URL=http://s701.photobucket.com/user/picturebouquet/media/IMG_20150522_151621_zps9hheh1z3.jpg.html][IMG]http://i701.photobucket.com/albums/ww13/picturebouquet/IMG_20150522_151621_zps9hheh1z3.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

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[quote user="Jonzjob"]This is one of our little visitors ... [/quote]

That's an interesting photo, John - thanks for posting.  That colouring is quite unusual, I think (I was even wondering whether it was a Southern Smooth Snake; but the head markings don't look right).

If he/she should happen to return, might you be able to get a close up photo of the scales on the top and side of the head?  Their size and arrangement is the only certain means of ID.

TIA

Craig

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This was one of a pair of our slightly bigger visitors about 4 years back. A beautiful ladder snake. One was slightly larger than the other and we presumed that it was the SWMBO!! About 4 foot long.

[URL=http://s47.photobucket.com/user/Jonzjob/media/Nature/Ladder%20snake%201_zpsjhhqeqol.jpg.html][IMG]http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f180/Jonzjob/Nature/Ladder%20snake%201_zpsjhhqeqol.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

I will see if I can get a better photo showing the head? That file has been reduced for photobucket so I should have the original, much larger, file amongst the rest, but there are thousands of them!!!

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[quote user="Jonzjob"]<snip> I will see if I can get a better photo showing the head ...[/quote]

A kind offer John - thanks.  However, looking more closely at your original photo, I think that the important detail shows - namely, the width of the scale on the top of the head relative to the scales over the eyes.

Like this:

[URL=http://s468.photobucket.com/user/Ventodue/media/Wildlife/Ecailles%20couleuvre%20Montpelliier_zps5jb08e9m.jpg.html][IMG]http://i468.photobucket.com/albums/rr42/Ventodue/Wildlife/Ecailles%20couleuvre%20Montpelliier_zps5jb08e9m.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

This taken from Les Serpents de France by G Naulleau (CNRS) btw.

And that's a super Ladder Snake! [:D]

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