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Aaagghh - snake again


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I arrived home this afternoon, put the shopping on the kitchen table and heard a noise. I stepped back and there was this snake slithering across the floor. I vaguely recognised it, and was confident it wasn't poisonous - I think it was a Western Whip (couleuvre the neighbours call them) however, it "struck" at my broom as I tried to usher it outside and it did make me shiver. It didn't want to escape and ended up going behind some kitchen units. To cut a long story short, my neighbour and I moved one lot of units and located it in the back. We couldn't get it out, so we carried the unit outside so that the reptile could clear off in its own time. I have to say I was very happy to have it out of the house, and also pleased that we couldn't get it out as my neighbour had arrived with his 12 bore ready to blast it. The French (perhaps I should say some French) seem not to share the feelings of some contributors to this forum when it comes to snakes.

I was really unsure about how to deal with it; I recognise that it was frightened but is there an effective way of dealing with these things?

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Sure, if you know it's not venomous grab it by the tail and lift it straight up, carry it outside to where you want to release it and let it go, alternatively leave the door open and hopefully it may go out again when you give it some space.

They can all be a bit aggressive even small grass snakes but they can't actually hurt you.

Chris

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I did think about that, having watched the herpetologists (is that the correct term?) on the TV but it's going to take much bravado before I can do this. One difficulty is that it backed itself into a corner for self-defence. I gave it room to escape but it was obviously hanging round for an aperitif!
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Chris, if you read this :   I found a snake yesterday, within a tarpaulin which was covering some wood.

It doesn't look (to me anyway) like any of the snakes on your site.

It was quite skinny, about 40 - 60 cm long, light and dark grey zig zags down the body, and two yellow strips on the head, which to me looked adder -shaped.    It also seemed to be rather cross with me (!) and reared up and hissed at me several times.

Eventually managed to get it into a large bucket and carry said bucket with a wooden pole and dump it out of our grounds.

Any ideas ?

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Hmm, Chris is the expert but grass snakes do have yellow stripes around the neck but more of a collar shape than an adder I believe, don't think that they are agressive though either.  It is breeding season so perhaps they are all a bit feisty this time of year. 

EDIT

Main difference I believe is the head shape, if it was pointed like a > then I think that is a adder/viper type, if it is small and rounded then not. 

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It was pointed (the head) and the two yellow strips were coming from the front of the head towards the back, but slanting away from the eyes out towards the 'neck' (heh heh if you can imagine a snake with a neck).

quite like snakes myself but OH definitely not keen, and as always I am concerned about the dog, or more particularly the cat, who loves sitting on the wood-pile and is particularly fond of tarpaulins...    Still, perhaps it was a one-off.   I did move all of the wood and there were no other snakes there at the moment.

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More like the second one than the first one, except where he (or she !) seems to have a greenish stripe running backwards from the eyes towards the back of the body, mine had a yellow stripe, and was a little lighter in pattern colour all over body.

No water very nearby - well its been raining a lot !! but no standing water.

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I could be totally wrong here but I thought there was only one poisonous snake here and that's the adder which is very easy to recognise.  I don't know why people freak so much about snakes.  They're great for catching mice and rats!  These little snakes really can't hurt you.  They're beautiful too.  I wouldn't chase it out, I'd give it an escape route and leave it be.  Do you know I've actually seen people swerve on the road to purposely run over a snake and kill it!  I get outraged at this!

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I am actually not frightened of them at all - I once had a snake of my own (a corn snake) and my best friend had many snakes, two of which were boa constrictors (one of which I had the pleasure of carrying in an old quilt cover on the day she moved - even I was a little un-nerved by that one).

I am however frightened of what they may do to my dog or cat, hence I am a little anxious if I see a snake I don't know hanging around where my cat hangs around.

But you are right of course, in general people (especially English people) do seem to over-react, perhaps its because it is so rare to see a snake in England; I haven't seen one since I was a child, when my grandmother used to take me as a little treat down to watch the grass snakes !!

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I'm wary rather than frightened of them, but I don't want one living in my house, and there are lots of nooks and crannies where it could insert itself. We have enough problems with the tree frogs which insist on coming into the house.
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I have enough trouble with OH who insists on coming in the house !

But I know what you mean, I quite like mice, but actually I don't really want them running through my kitchen cupboards - nice in the wild and all that but not slithering or running out from behind walls in the middle of Emmerdale.

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No adders in the Tarn, herbie, only Asp vipers although you may just possibly have both in Puy du Dôme, depends on where.

Incidentally the photos are of two different Viperine snakes, not venomous and often confused as being Asp vipers. Look at the eyes and the size of the head scales.

Chris

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Thanks Chris.  I wasn't sure but I didn't think there were too many poisonous snakes here.  I don't tend to worry about them and they usually want to get out of our way anyway.   In Puy de Dome, we'll be at 600m altitude and it will be much colder.  Will we still get them there?

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Oh yes, herbie, definitely, 1200 metres is quite comfortable for most of the snakes in France and many will live at up to 3000 metres in the Alps and Pyrenees, so you will be either fortunate or unfortunate depending on your point of view.

Chris

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  • 3 weeks later...

Had this visitor yesterday evening, suppose it's just a grass snake, nothing to worry about !   [:-))]   [:'(]

 

                        [IMG]http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a363/Bechamel/Snake07.jpg[/IMG]

                         [IMG]http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a363/Bechamel/SnakeJune07.jpg[/IMG]

 

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It was at least a metre long.  If it's not a grass snake, what is it then Chris ! ?   [:'(]

I called the dogs in just in case.  Then after the photos it slithered behind a heavy stone trough which is against a wall.

A couple of years ago we had one in the house.  We tried to get it outside, but it managed to go under a door on to the stone steps which lead to the sous-sol and then disappeared between them !  It looked about like this one, but not as long.

 

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We thought it was a couleuvre.  It's difficult to tell the difference between the couleuvre d'esculape and the aesculapian snake to someone who doesn't know anything about them.

Anyway, as long as it's harmless.  I just hope it's not laying its eggs behind my trough !   [6]

 

Edit : Wait a minute, they are one and the same aren't they, one's the English name, the other the French.  In which case, couleuvre translates as grass snake.  Jean-Pierre says a grass snake is an orvet, which is much shorter.

[8-)]  

 

 

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