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Snakes............


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Sorry dont know if this is the correct forum but yesterday as I was closing the shutters to my double doors in the main bedroom, there on the balcony asleep on the shutter rail was a snake.[+o(] Yep I had the fright of my life.....especially since the bedroom is on the third floor.  [8-)]Even worse as it was sunny day I had the doors open for hours and they have no screens on them.

Is this common to find snakes in the ''city'' on the third floor of your house?  Is there a way to get rid of them....really not keen on them with very young children.

Thanks

Frances

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Hello Chris and Frances.  I dont mind snakes at all or caterpillars but if they can harm me I would like to know so I can keep out of their way and tell my children to do the same.

 

Chris could you share with me any creatures in France that are best avoided. (You may omit some forum members[:D]).  Seriously though, I asked about this on the caterpillar thread but got ignored.  I really have not got a clue.  Thank you

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Unfortunately I cannot advise about “dangerous animals” in France. Probably worth carrying a blowtorch just in case you meet some innocent caterpillars though !!

However, in my limited experience all snakes in France are vipers and very dangerous. It is very easy to establish this. Ask any local about any snake. Make some up (saw this snake the other day, pink with green spots, etc.) and locals will shake their heads and tell you it’s a viper. At least that’s my experience.

Look on Chris’s site and describe a grass snake and see what the locals tell you it is. Every time I’ve asked any local (farmers, hunters, etc.) about any snake I’ve seen it has always been a viper and “deadly”.

Ian

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I wonder if the snake on the balcony was someone's pet snake that had

escaped? Deimos - when we first came we were warned about various

creatures by the locals. I came to the conclusion that it was the

french sense of humour eg ragondin killed my uncle's dog, don't go in

the lake as the water snakes will curl round your legs, someone even

said there are lot's of dangerous wild animals here. But I do think

that the sangliers or wild boars are dangerous, having had one run into

the side of the van while I was driving. Pat.

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Maybe this will help.

 

There are three types of “viper” in France.

Vipére aspic or Asp viper,  Vipére péliade or Common adder,  Vipére d’Orsini or Orsinis’ viper. All three are venomous but not really dangerous to 99.0% of the population.

 

All other snakes in France are harmless even though they may bite, they have no venom fangs and the most you will get is a small bruise, but you would have to be threatening them.

 

The common adder is found in the extreme north and north east of France and the asp viper is found in the rest of France – there is very little overlap of the two species. Both of these are venomous and can bite. On average about 25 people a year are bitten and about 5 or 6 people actually die every 10 years (half a person a year). The main reason for being bitten is from treading on one with open shoes and bare legs, sitting down on one or putting your hand on one, either on the ground or in a hole (water meter or inspection hole or similar)

 

Orsinis’ viper is very rare and endangered, only found in a small area of south east France and can normally be handled without risk.

 

If you should be bitten, stay calm, keep warm, raise the part of the body that has been bitten and get someone else if possible to call any of the emergency services.

 

Don't rub the affected area.

 

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

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It's not Australia Kat!  They do have some fearsome critters there.

MOH spends half his life rigging up devices to save snakes, (vipers) bats (don't shriek) beetles and mice who fall down the drain and into the water butt.

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With the Snakes, they try to stay out of peoples way. As Chris said, they only attack if they think they are under attack.

I keep children out of long grass, and if they do go in it we cut sticks for them, and they poke ahead with the sticks to warn the critters that big foots are coming. Also always have the kids wearing long trousers if they are doing this kind of adventure stuff in the woods etc. It's fine, honestly. Don't pass your fears on.

Even I didn't pass my pathological fear of Slugs on, and I still think they are somehow going to bite my neck[:'(]

 

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Chris' post is reassuring & informative.

Have seen one grass snake emerging from our bedroom one Summer morning - wife less than ecstatic! Our neighbour says that in 10 years of living here (and he's retired, so out and about all the time), he's seen just one adder.

Commonsense says not to walk around in the long grass / undergrowth in 'bare' legs. Truth is that you've got more chance of being injured on the rural roads by a Parisien now that we're in to the tourist season, than by one of those guys. 

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Uggg ok after looking at the pictures......I''m pretty sure it was a viper...but I could be wrong. Its about the same size as the vipers and similar markings.  I wasn't about to study it for very long with my young children only 2 metres away and the snake was between me and my children! 

Chris - thanks for the photos (i'll probably have nightmares all night!!). We live in Aix en Provence and the outside of our house is 'rough'' cement - knobly bits on it.  Our house is just on the base of a hill - so with the garage on the first floor, the main bedroom is really on the third floor.  No climbing equipment was seen near the snake so I cant really figure how it got to be there. No trees are near the house or touching the house and didn't see any large eagles flying nearby either.  My horror for today is wondering if there is a sankes nest or something in the roof.........[+o(]

Are there 'pest' contollers who can inspect the house etc?????

Re the endangered viper.......if they are venemous (showing my ignorance here) how can they be protected? I'm all for protecting endagered animals but put one between me and my children, I must admit i'll choose my children first[:P]

Thanks for the info.......

Frances

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Frances,

The Vipére d'Orsini really is very rare and considered to be near to the point of extinction in western Europe, it lives in mountainous areas. There has been a programme of introduction to try to keep them going. I think that the word venomous conjures up all sorts of false ideas and worries, but really, how many people are killed on the roads every day, we don't stop driving.

You won't have a "vipers nest" in your roof,  the young won't be born yet in fact it's only just coming to wards breeding time and your roof wouldn't be the chosen place, it was just a snake sunning itself and by the sounds of things a good climber, bit high for an Asp viper.

If we started to kill everything that presented a minimal threat to humans we would be in a bigger mess than we are already - have you seen the news about the protests the other day against the 5 bears hopefully about to be introduced in the Pyrénées?

Chris

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[quote user="Miggimeggi"]

So Frances, what did you do about the snake?

Anne

[/quote]

I'm afraid that if I ever see one in that sort of place, I won't know WHERE it goes to, as I'll be too busy changing my boxers.........[:'(]

Alcazar

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Before anyone gets too carried away and begins exterminating perhaps rare and certainly timid wild creatures, bear in mind that the risk of harm is miniscule. Snakes have acute senses and will usually clear off long before you get anywhere near. I lived for 20 years at the edge of a common which apparently is home to quite a large number of adders (vipers) living among the ferns. I rarely saw one and never heard of any person being bitten by one. And their presence doesn't seem to put off visitors to the area.

As for grass snakes biting people, when I was young a local lad used to catch them and keep them as pets. We handled then often without once being bitten. I suppose if I had forced my finger down the throat of one and stamped on the other end, it might have nipped me - but it never occurred to me to do that.

Indeed, the only snake-inflicted injury I can recall was to a terrier that hunted down an adder.  That could have proved fatal but my recollection of the newspaper report (yes, it was unusual enough to warrant a write-up in the local rag) is that even Fido survived the not altogether undeserved bite after a hasty trip to the vets.

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Hmmmm....what did I do in this situation?

a) fry it on a electric fence or

b) call the fire brigade or

c) bottle it and keep it in the cave so it can be identified by the local wildlife protection authority or

d) ask for it to pose for a picture and leave it there to continue sunbaking or

e) provide it with its first flying lesson or,

f) test to see if it truley was venomous or

g) feed it and keep it as a pet for the children.

[Www] What would you do???????

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Point taken, Frances. It's one thing to leave them to their own devices on several acres of common-land  but another to find one on your bedroom window-ledge in a town.

Having heard parents of mindless yobs praise their offspring for wiping out harmless water-voles (which they described as "rats") with air-rifles, I can get a bit defensive when it comes to wildlife issues.

I was interested to read in the commune newsletter for my village in central France (appropriately named Couleuvre - translates as grass snake) that the French equivalent of the RSPCA is growing in popularity. I imagine Hissing Sid has gone now (!) but I suppose a phone call to them might have been a possibility. Next time, perhaps.....

Alan

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When I lived in Trinidad a friend? threw a large snake at me and said merry xmas.-it was that time of the year you see and he was rather high on rum .!!!!!!!!!!!!!

thThe snake hit my neck and with the throw coiled around my neck.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The sod was laughing as it was a dead snake but how was I to know-I nearly wet myself and went a paler shade of white!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!then green and then had a stiff drink.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!![I]

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Hi Alan

I agree totally with protecting wildlife etc and hopefully instally that ethic into my children. Unfortunately the situation placed us into situaition on where we HAD to take the safest option for our young children - the decision was not taken lightly nor with any pleasure[:(] We then did the next best thing (or so we hope) and sought to be educated about snakes in this region. (Hence this post) Interestingly enough we had co-workers (who are fluent in French) ring and find out the correct 'procedure'' if the situation arose again and we were told that it is the pompiers (sp?) responsibility to remove snakes and apply first aid if required. This 'french' response is very different given our cultural background (Australian) and our snake handling procedures down under.[;-)] Never thought to call the pompiers but now I know...........

Warm fuzzy tree hugs

Frances

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