France & Switzerland June-July 2007

 

 

 

© All CONTENT & PHOTOGRAPHS G.J. VERSPUI 2013 ©

Unless mentioned otherwise.

 

 

 

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This year Cynthia and I went on summer holidays a little earlier than normal, this was not bad for my chances of looking for herps.

 

We left around 06.00 with our old VW LT campervan and went in the direction of Verdun, around this French city we looked for Asp Vipers (Vipera aspis), the first 2 places were without luck, but after that it all went better.

 

The first snake was a Smooth Snake and the first Asp Viper I saw was a beautifull grey male, close to the Asp Viper there was a little wasp nest in the grass.

The day was pretty rainy and temperatures of around 19’C until the beginning of the afternoon, when the sun came for the first time around 1400 the temp. went up a little and the snakes were found.

 

Later that afternoon we went to another location and here we found Slow Worm and 5 Asp Vipers, some of them were laying in the sun and other were found after lifting roofplates.

The next day(24th of June) we drove south and around Toul we found an Asp Viper again.

 

 

Next we went through the Vosges mountains, the next morning it wasn’t very warm, but I looked around next to a lake and found Common Toad, Grass Snake and a Praying Mantis.

 

Later that day when the temp. was around 22’C I saw a couple of Sand Lizards one was too fast, but the other one I managed to take a picture of.

The next 2 days we went to Wallis in Switzerland, unfortunately the weather was not what we hoped, rain all day so no herps were found, just one animal with a big bell around its neck…

 

The Next day we reached Ticino, we came from Domossola (Italy) and between this city and the swiss border we stopped next to a church and a almost dry river.

Here we found a Western Green Lizard and a juvenile Western Whip Snake which had a very beautiful color.

In Ticino we went to Valle Maggia, in the morning of the 29th of June I searched on the edges of a field close to a village, lots of Western Green Lizards were found and 1 big Aesculapian Snake, unfortunately his head was bitten off by some animal.

 

Around 10.00 we looked a bit higher up in the valley and again Western Green Lizards were found, Common Wall Lizard, Asp Viper (subspecies atra), Smooth Snake and a Chamois were also seen. The weather was good, around 23’C and sunny the whole day.

 

In the afternoon we were more higher and found another Asp Viper, this one was very dark with reddish brown, very beautiful, but because of the bright sun it was hard to take pretty pictures.

In the early evening I looked around in the lower parts of the valley and found a Western Whip Snake, the next morning I found an even bigger one.

 

The next place we wanted to go was Valle Verzasca, another very beautiful valley in Ticino, famous for its old bridge and bright blue water.

In this valley we saw a lot of Western Green Lizards and 2 Smooth Snakes.

Leaving Valle Verzasca on the 1st of July, the weather was still very good.

 

We went into a valley where an other subspecies of the Asp Viper (subspecies francisciredi) should be. After searching for a while I found the first snake, it was a Smooth Snake, I didn’t take a good photo of it because I saw an Asp Viper 10 meters further away, after I made some photos I climbed up a hill and found a killed one close to an old stone house, inside the house I saw a Grass Snake, but it disappeared quickly.

 

Almost 2 hours(1300) after the first viper I found a second Asp Viper and a large Aesculapian Snake was too fast for me.

We heard good things about the weather in the Bernese Oberland, so we went there and hoped to find a melanistic (black) Asp Viper, but it started raining and it didn’t stop until we left Switzerland again, the only rain lover we saw was an Alpine Salamander.

 

Being back in France we hoped for better weather, but it stayed bad, we headed back to the Lorraine on the 3rd of July and I found an Asp Viper underneath a wooden plate, at the same location I saw a red fox and a Smooth Snake.

 

After this short period without rain we went back home on the 4th of July.

Observed Species

 

 

1.  Slow Worm - Anguis fragilis

2.  Common Toad - Bufo bufo

3.  Grass Frog - Rana temporaria 

4.  Smooth Snake - Coronella austriaca

5.  Western Whip Snake - Hierophis viridiflavus

6.  Sand Lizard - Lacerta agilis

7.  Western Green Lizard - Lacerta bilineata

8.  Grass Snake - Natrix natrix

9.  Common Wall Lizard - Podarcis muralis

10. Alpine Salamander - Salamandra atra

11. Asp Viper - Vipera aspis aspis

                        - Vipera aspis atra

                        - Vipera aspis francisciredi

  - . Aesculapian Snake - Zamenis longissimus (DEAD)

12. Viviparous Lizard - Zootoca vivipara