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Snakes of the Midi-Pyrenees and south west France

Category: Midi-Pyrenees - Useful Information
Snakes of Midi-Pyrenees
Asp Viper is only venomous snake in Midi-Pyrenees

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Snakes of Midi-Pyrenees and south west France

 

There are a wide variety of animals in the Midi-Pyrenees and snakes are no exception.  As in the UK, there is only one venomous snake, the Asp Viper.

 

The chances of getting bitten by a venomous snake in south west France are similar to that of the UK as the snakes are rather timid and secretive, preferring to move away from you than attack. 

 

Most commonly, people are bitten either when attempting to pick up and handle a snake or if you surprise the snake; for example, a popular hiding place for snakes is wood piles, so next time you go to collect the wood, keep your eyes open!

 

If you are bitten, it is essential that medical help is sought right away.  Although very few fatalities are caused through snake bites in France, it is possible, so the sooner you go to hospital the better.  Fatalities have been reported in adults, but children, older adults and pets are at a slightly higher risk.

 

The only venomous snake in Midi-Pyrenees is the Asp Viper.  This snake is identified by it’s triangulated, flattened head.  It is small, commonly only growing to around 30 – 40 cm, but can be as long as 75cm. 

 

Emergency contact numbers

 

If you are bitten by a snake, then go to the nearest Emergency centre if you know where it is or call the medical services on either 15 or 112.

 

 

Types of snake in the Midi-Pyrenees

 

Asp viper (Vipera aspis)

Slightly upturned snout

Asp viper

Image by Jwinius - Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Smooth snake (Coronella austriaca)

Identified by a dark line running through the eyes from the neck

Smooth snake

Image by Der Irbis- Wikimedia Commons

 

Western whip snake (Hierophis viridiflavus)

Black with yellow spots on the body

Western whip snake

Image by Manfred Heyde- Wikimedia Commons

 

Aesculapian snake (Zamenis longissimus)

Uniform coloured, usually with light spots

Aesculapian snake

Image by  FelixReiman- Wikimedia Commons

 

Viperine snake (Natrix maura) 

Zig zag dorsal pattern

Viperine snake

Image by Karkov - Wikimedia Commons

 

Grass snake (Natrix natrix)

Identifiable by the yellow collar

Grass snake

Image by Fafner- Wikimedia Commons



Lizard

 

Slow worm (Anguis fragilis)

Often confused as a snake, but is in fact a limbless lizard.  Harmless, although will bite if caught, but they don’t have a strong bite.

Slow worm

Image by James T M Towill - Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Useful resources online

 

HerpFrance – A great resource for anyone interested in reptiles and Amphibians in France.

 

EuroHerp – Photos and field reports for anyone interested in reptiles in Europe

 

PlanetPassion – A site dedicated to the wildlife of France

 

 

 

Check out Guide2MidiPyrenees for Property in Midi-PyreneesEventsNewsClassifiedsPlaces to StayMidi-Pyrenees Attractions and Business Directory.

 

 

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IBIS Toulouse Centre Hotel, Toulouse, Midi-Pyrenees
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Kingdom Vegetal, garden and landscaping centre, Boulogne-sur-Gesse, Haute-Garonne, Midi-Pyrenees
 
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