RAUK - Archived Forum - Snake in the Pyrenees

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Snake in the Pyrenees:

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tim-f
Senior Member
Joined: 13 Apr 2008
No. of posts: 60


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Posted: 04 Dec 2009

Hi all.

A friend of mine saw this in the Pyrenees in June.  It's obviously above the snow line and happy in water - any ideas?

I assumed it was one thing, but my friend (after some discussions and research) thinks it's something else - and I wouldn't want to give you experts any clues just yet

I'd be interested to know what you think.

Tim.

 


Iowarth
Admin Group
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 222


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Posted: 04 Dec 2009
Speaking as a total non-expert, looking at the rather slim build, pale centre to the zig-zag and apparently slightly upturned nose - and, last but not least, where it was seen, I'll go for Vipera aspis.
I will now wait for Tony to tell me I am a complete plonker!

Chris

Chris Davis, Site Administrator
Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme
Vicar
Senior Member
Joined: 02 Sep 2004
No. of posts: 1181


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Posted: 04 Dec 2009
I suspect you're right Chris. Possibility of it being Seoanei? (depends on where in the Pyrenees).
Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
Iowarth
Admin Group
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
No. of posts: 222


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Posted: 04 Dec 2009
I wondered about seoanei as well Steve. Discounted it (tentatively!) largely on the basis of it being so slim. It might be just my ageing eyes but I couldn't make out whether it had a single (berus/seoanai) or double (aspis) row of scales beneath the eyes - that would have made it a little more definite in one way or t'other! But only a little - to the best of my knowledge even this isn't a dead cert!
Probably the most difficult area in which to be sure of identification without a lot more detail.
Chris

Chris Davis, Site Administrator
Co-ordinator, Sand Lizard Captive Breeding Programme
Jeroen
Senior Member
Joined: 03 Nov 2004
No. of posts: 121


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Posted: 05 Dec 2009
It's a rather typical Vipera aspis zinnikeri, with the paler central zone. Vipera seoanei is extremely restricted in the Pyrenees. Not in areas where you'd expect to still have snow in June, I seem to recall. Usually lacks the upturned snout, which is visible in the 3rd picture. I've seen asp vipers cool themselves down in water a couple of times in the warmer months of the year.
Jeroen Speybroeck
http://www.hylawerkgroep.be/jeroen/
tim-f
Senior Member
Joined: 13 Apr 2008
No. of posts: 60


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Posted: 07 Dec 2009

Thanks for the replies.  Seems pretty clear it's a V Aspis then.

I must admit, I (rather lazily and without knowing much about the snakes of the Pyrenees) assumed it was a V Berus.  My friend had concluded it was a Natrix Maura, which I didn't know of at all - interesting though.  I'll let him know - next time he might not get quite so close.

 


- Snake in the Pyrenees

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