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Identify this snake please.....


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Hi.

I know nothing about the slithery things apart from the fact that I dont like them.

This year there are lots of these in and around my garage. Are they the bitey kind or not? should I be worried?

Apologies for the photo, my camera doesnt zoom and I didnt fancy  getting closer.

The second one is a different animal but looks the same as the first and was dispatched by next doors cat.

They are about the diameter of a pencil and maybe eight inches long.

[img]http://s18.postimg.org/4ec9m23i1/IMG_20140603_163414.jpg[/img]

[img]http://s30.postimg.org/4at1pb1j5/IMG_20140603_163617.jpg[/img]

Thanks.

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Hi Dave.

 

It could be a Rat Snake, Zamenis situla, they are constrictors. I had one here a couple of years ago which reared up with it's mouth open looking at me. It looked quite fearsome but for someone like me that has served in the Jungle, it wasn't a big deal.

I think it is the snake that adorns the Doctors official emblem if memory serves.

Regards. Les.

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Hi Dave,

Let's try and sort this for you.  First off, a Big Thanks to Betty for posting the link to Chris' site.

[quote user="dave21478"]Are they the bitey kind or not? Should I be worried?[/quote]

No and no.  There are effectively only 2 species of poisonous snake in France: Adder, Vipera berus, the same species as occurs in the UK.  However, it isn't found where you are in the Tarn.  And Asp, Vipera aspis. This does occur in the Tarn, but it is very secretive and hard to find, even when you know where to look.  So no need to worry.

[quote user="dave21478"]This year there are lots of these in and around my garage. They are about the diameter of a pencil and maybe eight inches long.
[/quote]

'tis the time of year - these are youngsters.  Is your garage near water, btw?  Which brings me to species ...

I'm thinking these are young Viperine snakes, Natrix maura.  The Natrix in the scientific name tells you that they are closely related to Grass snake.  They're called 'Viperine' because their markings can resemble that of a 'true' viper, the Adder.  However, snakes can vary a lot in their appearance, individual to individual: basically, what you look like isn't very important to a snake, at least not between one snake and another.  Instead, they identify and distinguish themselves by smell and what we can satisfy ourselves be calling 'taste'.  Appearance is therefore mainly for camoflage, both against predators and for prey.  And can therefore vary a lot.

[quote user="dave21478"]I know nothing about the slithery things apart from the fact that I dont like them.[/quote]

Hopefully we can change your mind.  Snakes are wonderful things, much mis-understood.  Almost all the species here in France are in decline, partly because of the widespread ignorance about them.

HTH

Craig

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[quote user="vette"]It could be a Rat Snake, Zamenis situla <snip> [/quote]

They'd have to be escapes, Les.  The native distribution of  European Ratsnake, Zamenis situla, is Albania; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Greece; Italy; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malta; Montenegro; Turkey; Ukraine.

(Source: IUCN Ref List, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/61444/0)

The native Zamenis  is Zamenis longissimus, Aesculapian snake.  But I don't think these are that species?  The skin of Aesculapian tends to be more uniform ... But I stand to be corrected [:)].

Craig

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[quote user="PaulT"]People only normally get bitten because they accidentally tread on them / catch them unawares or interfere with them.[/quote]

Certainly true here in Europe, Paul.  And just to bring a sense of proportion to the, "Are snakes dangerous?" question, I offer this piece of research I did:

"In the 4 years between 1997 and 2001, the anti-poison centre at Lille Hospital, covering about ¼ of France, dealt with 39 cases of snake bite.  In other words, fewer than 10 cases a year.  80% of the cases were minor and all the patients were treated successfully.

No-one died. 

In contrast: in 2010 alone, 3,994 people died on French roads."

 

I have read that more people die from wasp stings in France each year than from snake bites ... [:-))]

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Many thanks for all the help. I guess the consensus is "dont worry and leave them alone."

Just as a minor aside to the happy statistics though, a nearby farmers son was bitten some years ago and spent a good few days in intensive care, several weeks total in the hospital and permanently lost the hearing in one of his ears - although I dont know what kind of snake it was or whether he was just unluckily susceptible to it.

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Crakpot, you're absolutely right! As was Les, in that he got the genus right!

My bad - I apologize. Not Viperine at all. The fact that I'm writing this at some time past midnight might tell you that I knew I hadn't got it right ... I've just been looking at my old copy of Arnold and Burton's field guide and seen the illustration and description of juvenile Aesculapian.

Thanks, Crakpot and Les!

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[quote user="dave21478"]Just as a minor aside to the happy statistics though, a nearby farmers son was bitten some years ago and spent a good few days in intensive care, several weeks total in the hospital and permanently lost the hearing in one of his ears [/quote]

Thanks for that Dave.  If you can find out more, I'd be interested.  You being in the Tarn, it's most likely he got bitten by an Asp.  Which is pretty unusual.  When feeling threatened but unable to flee, Asps normally coil themselves up tight and flatten themselves against the ground - and do nothing.  Which would suggest he was either extremely unlucky - i.e. inadvertently put his hand/foot directly on the snake.  Or was doing something he shouldn't have ...[:$]

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