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In the summer of 2012 I already went to Sardinia and found almost everything there, only Gené’s Cave Salamander - Speleomantes genei and Italian Three-toed Skink - Chalcides chalcides were not found then, this was a good reason to keep an eye open for good-priced tickets to that special island.
I found 2 possibilities in december for only 30 euro's, the first was not possible because I had to work for a week on the Greek island Crete.
On Crete I was lucky only once and found a very nice Cat Snake - Telescopus fallax pallidus in the only hour I had nothing to do, the rest of the week was without herping, but with very clear revelations about why Crete can be a horrible place...
So the second option it was going to be, after checking it with work and the boss at home I booked the ticket and shortly after that I asked Wouter B. , Paul L. and Bobby B. if they felt like joining.
Wouter joined and Paul could not find a good enough connecting flight, so Paul, see you in spring! Bobby had other things to do, so a happy birthday to his special someone!
Wouter and I used ryanair for the flight and at the Eindhoven airport we almost changed the flight to Bordeaux, I cant remember what the reason was for that.
At Alghero airport I collected our Fiat 500 rental herping car and we went to the first Cave Salamander infested place close to Omodeo Lake, here Wouter found the first Scented Cave
Salamander - Speleomantes imperialis and when it became darker many more were found.
We continued our journey South to Iglesias, here I booked a nice appartment, it almost looked romantic....(why is Wouter not a hot woman...) We dropped our luggage and drove to a place where we hoped to find Gené’s Cave Salamander - Speleomantes genei subsp. B,
The night should be good to find something, the days before our arrival it had been raining, it was 9' Celcius and there was no wind. After a while I spotted the first salamander and 10 more were
found that night, other animals that were found after flipping some stones were
Tyrrhenian Algyroides and Turkish Gecko.
Happy we went back to our 'home' around 01:00.
Sunday, the 15th of December.
We made some breakfast and went in the direction of Buggerru, south of this place we found many Gené’s Cave Salamander - Speleomantes genei again, but they were not subsp. A and not subsp. B according to a paper that Wouter had.
The next place was a valley for Gené’s Cave Salamander - Speleomantes genei subsp. A, this valley was a good one, we found at least 50 salamanders under stones and loggs, Wouter also found a pink Green Toad and an European Leaf-toed Gecko, very cool animals! After a while I also spotted an European Leaf-toed Gecko, but it escaped....
We still had plenty of time left that day, so we decided to visit the Sette Fratelli mountains east of Cagliari, the nice and warm sun left us when we reached that place, we searched at several places next to some streams and prayed for a Sardinian Grass Snake, but instead of that we found 3 Tyrrhenian Painted Frogs and a juvenile Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard.
Back at the appartment I made some good food and after we ate it all we went out again to a coastal dune area with some ponds, the moon was almost full, so a big Green Toad was spotted without using the flashlights, it turned out to be the only herp that night.
Monday, the 16th of December.
Waking up early and after my special breakfast Wouter suggested to do some naked herping today, so I said: Wouter, Wouter, Wouter, are you mistaking me for somebody else.....he sort of looked relieved and said, that Bobby B told him that you are very uncool if you dont herp naked....
Todays plans were visiting the Monte Arci mountains, The Monte Arci is an isolated massif in the Uras plain in Campidano, Sardinia.
It is composed by three volcanic basalt towers, the highest one reaching an elevation of 812 m.
These mountains are without Cave Salamander records, so we gave it a try to search in suitable habitats, we did not see them and climbed higher, here we found some rocky outcrops in the sun, Wouter used his skills again to look for European Leaf-toad Gecko's and found one, some moments later I found one too and we photographed that one. On the way back to the car we saw some Italian Wall Lizards.
The next place we went to was a coastal dune area north of Oristano, the temperature was 17' Celsius when we arrived, many Italian Wall Lizards were running over the rocky parts and under stones we soon found many Occelated Skinks, they were not active like the lizards.
The biggest reason we were there was the presence of Italian Three-toed Skink, but after flipping 1 million stones, still no one was found untill Wouter saw an active one, it escaped......when he saw a second one going into the bushes, I searched there and found an other smaller one, so that was the last herp species from Sardinia that I did not see before.
Other species found there were a nice bite-happy Western Whip Snake which used my hand for training its jaw muscles several times and a Spur-thighed Tortoise, at first we thought it was a Spur-thighed Tortoise, but the scale on the tail tip was present, so then we thought it was a Hermans Tortoise, but later it became clear that it was a nice female Spur-thighed Tortoise. Thanks Willi Schneider for helping on the identification.
We left that place in the late afternoon and drove to Alghero, 2 hours later we arrived, it was a nice ride, not because we are such nice guys, but because we had a woman in the car with a very nice voice who told us the directions....Wouter bring the bitch-app again next time, so she can give us the wrong route directions again ;)
Tuesday, the 17th of December.
In Alghero we went to our B&B and after that we went into the old center to find something to eat, a pizza and some beers made us very happy and after some greasy places we went to bed.
The next morning we got a very big and good breakfast from the lady from the B&B and she made us some fresh very big cappucino's and showed us some photos of her daughter which was nice! I think Wouter will return some day to do some further research on that female species.
A very short trip, but in just over 2 days we found much more then we hoped for with the Gené’s Cave Salamander variety, European Leaf-toed Gecko's and Italian Three-toed Skink as my personal highlights of this trip.
The only downside was the Dikke Pad (Fat Toad) that slept in the same bed as I did for 3 nights in a row....and not finding Hyla sarda...
So Wouter, it was great herping with you again, we should do it more often, thanks for finding that nice snake which only bit me and thanks for trying to steal my blankets all the time!
1. Scented Cave Salamander - Speleomantes imperialis
2. Gené’s Cave Salamander - Speleomantes genei, ssp A + B
3. Tyrrhenian Painted Frog - Discoglossus sardus
4. Green Toad - Bufo viridis balearicus
5. Spur-thighed Tortoise - Testudo graeca nabeulensis
6. European Leaf-toed Gecko - Euleptes europaea
7. Turkish Gecko - Hemidactylus turcicus
8. Tyrrhenian Algyroides - Algyroides fitzingeri
9. Italian Wall Lizard - Podarcis siculus
10. Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard - Podarcis tiliguerta
11. Ocellated Skink - Chalcides ocellatus
12. Italian Tree-toed Skink - Chalcides chalcides vittatus
13. Western Whip Snake - Hierophis viridiflavus