Summer trip to Corfu with two rare snake finds!

Well perhaps not rare, more like poorly recorded or locally common I would say…As expected it was very hot, but for a couple of hours in the evening we did some searches and had a few interesting results. Firstly, we found a Worm snake (Typhlops vermicularis) under a perfect, flat stone in a shady olive grove, as far as I know the first time the burrowing snake has been found in the summer. It usually retreats deeper under ground when the summer approaches as the ground at the surface is no longer as moist as it was in the winter and the spring. Another nice find was the Dice snake (Natrix tessellata), which was seen hunting in a great river habitat, only the second time I have seen this snake on Corfu where it is only found locally at some small sites in central Corfu. The Grass snake (Natrix natrix persa) is the far more common water snake relative which can be found all over the island. More photos will be posted later, everytime I visit Corfu new surprises always turn up, one reason why after eight visits to the island I will still be back for more!

Typhlops vermicularis

Worm snake (Typhlops vermicularis) found on 4th July

Typhlops habitat

Andrew Gray searching habitat of Worm snake

Natrix tessellata 2

Dice snake (Natrix tessellata) on the hunt, only the second record of this snake in almost 25 years!

Natrix natrix persa

The more common water snake on the island: Grass snake (Natrix natrix persa)

ropa river

Great river habitat, one of few water sources on Corfu that are home to both water snake species, as well as many other reptiles and amphibians

By Matt Wilson

4 comments on “Summer trip to Corfu with two rare snake finds!

  1. Well done on some, even if not rare, still interesting finds. Having read some of both yours and Andrews blog I must say I am increasingly keen to visit the island myself. I have been hoping for some time to take a trip in October and Corfu is certainly now under consideration.
    Andrew mentioned your search for the horned viper – I was willing you on to find that again, in part due to my own fascination with venomous pecies – not just herps but in general (I work with an Invertebrate collection that includes a deathstalker scorpion, black widow etc!)
    Being so inexperienced I know I would never have the success you and Andrew did searching for herps, but I would love to see the nosed-horned viper in the wild!
    Regardless Corfu sounds and looks beautiful. so hopefully I will get to experience it for myself some time soon,
    Glad you both had a good trip.
    Take Care
    Louise

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  2. Hi Louise,
    Corfu is a great place you should definately consider visiting it. We had a great time last week, but as I already knew, July is not a good time at all to search for reptiles on the island. But even so we still found a few nice species, but nothing like the amount you would see in May or early June.
    Although Andy was optimistic, my instinct told me we would not find a Nose Horned Viper at this time of year even though the temperatures higher up that mountain were quite snake friendly. They just seem to vanish during the summer months…
    Matt

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  3. Hi Matt
    Well part of me would prefer maybe to hang on til May/June but I hopefully I will have another herpetological related trip planned to Sharjah, UAE. A good friend of mine and exceptional herpetologist lives and works out there.
    I was hoping to get away next in early to mid October and was wondering what Corfu is like at that time of year?
    I’m keen just to explore the Island and its wildlfe in general, but I would definatley like to go looking for some herps. Do you think it would be worth it at that time or better maybe to hold on and go another time?
    Thanks
    Louise

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  4. Hi Louise,
    October is a good time to visit Corfu, and I have had some successful trips at this time. However after such a long, dry summer it is essential some rain has arrived before your visit to make it worthwhile. Usually the end of September produces some rain which brings everything back to life. May is certainly better than October, but even mid summer can bring some surprises so no matter what time you go you could see something interesting.
    Matt

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