About me

With a Sand boa (Eryx jaculus) on Ios island, Greece.

With a Sand boa (Eryx jaculus) on Ios island, Greece.

This site has been created in order to share information and photography of field Herpetologist Matt Wilson as well as trip reports, photography and conservation of reptiles and amphibians. I have been conducting field trips since I was 15 years old and now at 31 I have gained invaluable experience thanks to over 50 excursions on the European continent and other parts of the world such as Latin America, North Africa and South-East Asia. The areas that I mostly visit are Greece and Spain, as I have a love for the Mediterranean herpetofauna.  In particular I have been visiting Greek islands since I was very young and I find the diversity and ecological adaptations of species here very interesting.

Recently, I decided that it was time for the website to evolve from The European Amphibian & Reptile Blog to Amphibian & Reptile Travels. This is because I have now started travelling further a field to explore different aspects of my interest in herpetology and therefore the site would need a wider coverage of visits to other places outside of Europe.

Although not formally qualified in the field of biology, I work in collaboration with a number of amphibian and reptile foundations and groups and assist in field work of native British species. In addition I have had a number of successful collaborations with associations abroad in conserving amphibians and reptiles. I also benefitted from working for the University of Manchester, the Manchester Museum for several years as an assistant to the Curator of Herpetology as well as further work with the Durrell School of Corfu. I did my undergraduate degree in BA (Hons) French, Spanish & European Culture at Manchester Metropolitan University and then my postgraduate in secondary education at the same university. I currently work as a primary and secondary school teacher of Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) on the island of Phuket in Thailand.

My most recent herpetology work was ‘in situ‘ research on the herpetofauna of some small Greek islands, such as Paxos in the Ionian Sea as well as my continued work and research on Corfu (Kerkyra). The paper can be downloaded here.

On another note, I generally have no problem with people using my photos for their websites, books or other publications, but please just send me an email first 🙂

E-mail: mjwilsonherp1@yahoo.co.uk

IMG_7956 copy

In Corfu with wildlife friends (from right to left), David Bellamy, Lee Durrell, Dave Ashcroft, Me, David Shimwell, Colin Stevenson and Rosemary Bellamy (C) Matt Wilson

42 comments on “About me

  1. Hi Matt,

    I too wanted to say how much I have enjoyed reading your blog – I came across it from the link on Manchester Museums Frogblog!

    I’m a Zoology student who over the past couple of years has developed an increasing interest in Herpetology. Reading about your trips and looking over the pictures has certainly inspired me to start planning some similiar trips of my own!

    Really like the European Field Herping Community site as well.

    Keep up the good work

    Louise

    Like

  2. Hi Louise,
    Thanks for your kind comments- actually the reason for making the blog is that unlike my colleague who runs the technical side of the European field herping community I am quite useless when it comes to running a real website! So a blog is a nice and easy alternative which I can manage myself.
    I am actually off again to Corfu next week with Andrew Gray, we are always looking for interested companions so let us know if you are interested in a trip in the future.
    Good luck with your studies,
    Matt

    Like

  3. Hi Matt

    I have had the pleasure of meeting Andrew a couple of times including a look around the museum this just this week.

    He did mention the Corfu trip – I am very suitably jealous! I am sure you will both find lots of herps and I shall keep a keen look out for any posts about the trip.

    Have a great time

    Louise

    Like

  4. Hi Louise,
    Well I have been visiting Corfu since I was very young, and I know my way around better than Manchester, so we will find lots of interesting things! Although this time will be tougher with the dry summer conditions. I am actually working in the vivarium at the museum now so look forward to seeing you around.
    All the best,
    Matt

    Like

  5. Hi Matt

    I’ve just happened upon your blog by chance! Looks good and very informative.

    I work for a magazine that is published in Corfu and, having had a read of some of your recently posts, I’ve had an idea for an article that you might be able to help me with.

    If you are interested could you email me and I’ll give you more details.

    Many thanks

    Belinda

    Like

  6. Hi, Matt

    Really interesting blog, that I´ve enjoyed a lot. Since I was a child, I´ve feld an impressive atraction for snakes that I have cought (and left free) for hundreds. My problem is that I find them out by roads and paths, when they´re having the sun. It is really difficult for me to find them out by the brushes and vegetation. At present I ´m managing a nice hotel in the Aracena Natural park… what about if I invite you to stay for one of your prospections and teach me how to find them?

    Like

  7. Hola Alfonso,
    Aracena is a very beautiful area, but unfortunately I have not visited it before, although I have been to many parts of Andalusia. I hope to return some day, so when I do I will let you know and we can do some excursions together!
    If you would like me to identify any photos you have taken you can send me an email.
    Saludos,
    Matt

    Like

  8. Hi Matt,

    I don’t know if you will remember but we have ‘spoken’ before when you kindly confirmed my identification of a juvenile four-lined tree snake in my Corfu garden.

    There is currently a thread running on the Agni website about a poor dog who was allegedly bitten by a nose horned viper and, unfortunately, had to be put down. The purpose of the post was to put other dog owners on alert in case this should happen to their beloved pets. It has, however, attracted quite alot of replies from people who claim to have come across nose horned vipers. Are they really that common? Is is possible that they are mistaking the aforementioned and very kind-natured juvenile four-lined tree snake for the viper? Could you have a look at the thread and see what you think please?

    Many thanks,

    Linda

    Like

  9. Hi Linda,
    First of all I would rather not get involved in a pets vs wildlife discussion on the forum. I am myself a dog lover and it is very sad when such incidents occur, but this is usually the result of a dog harasssing a snake (as dogs do) and getting bitten by a snake defending itself. Furthermore vipers are not common on Corfu, I have only seen a handful myself, and they are not aggressive animals, unless they are being messed with. Often when an animal dies from a viper bite people report vipers everywhere, but most people are incapable of successfully identifying a snake. I recall once on Corfu when a British lady showed me a ‘viper’ she had decapitated, it turned out to be a harmless Glass snake and often people do not know a viper from any other snake.
    If you require any further information I would be happy to help.
    Matt

    Like

  10. Hei.
    I have just come back from a birding trip to Lesvos. I was there from 23/4 to 2/5. During my trips i saw many lizards (100s), Tortoises (3) and snakes (15+) One species of snake was very dark, had a blunt head and was very thick in the body. The largest was perhaps 1.5 meters. They were amazingly quick at getting away, not creeping stealthily but whipping viciously from side to side causing a great disturbance in the vegitation as they went. Any idea what they could have been? Another question: I was told that there is in fact a legless lizards on the island and that may have been what i saw. Can this be true? I have Slow worms in my garden in Norway and they are very small and a silvery colour. Lesvos is at its best just before the first week in May and from my experience there is plenty of life in the undergrowth + you have the wild flowers!!
    Yours sincerely Peter Mallinson

    Like

  11. Hello I live in Seville and whilst replacing chlorine tablets in my pool I found a small(ish) snake asleep on the basket. I didn’t know if it is poisonous or not so we captured it and let it go in the campo I took photo’s of it but don’t know how to upload it on here, as I would very much like to know what type and if it is poisonous for future reference. Thanks Carol

    Like

  12. Hi Peter,
    I have been in Lemnos the last few days (north of Lesbos) and I saw many Glass legless lizards (Pseudopus apodus) and I think this is the ‘snake’ you describe. They can grow very large and are also common on Lesbos, they move side to side in a thrashing motion when they flee. If you type this species on Google let me know if these are what you saw.
    I also enjoyed Lesbos very much, but my visit was in October after a long dry summer so not much wildlife.
    Matt

    Like

  13. Hi Carol,
    If you wish you can email the photo of the snake to me at: mjwilsonherp1@yahoo.co.uk and I will identify it for you. I can almost certainly guarantee it will be a completely harmless species. The only dangerous snake in Andalucia is not usually found in gardens and is quite rare in any case.
    Matt

    Like

  14. Hi Matt,
    I’ve just come across your blog whilst trying (so far, very unsuccessfully) to identify three snakes I’ve recently seen in my garden in Andalucia. I live in the country a few kilometres from the coast just east of Malaga.
    The first snake I saw about a month ago was up to two metres, as thick as my arm and almost black with no distinct markings. I saw it basking in the sun everyday for a couple of weeks whilst walking past it with my two year old in the pushchair. It slid off into a pile of dried leaves as soon as it spotted me. Then after a few weeks it just disappeared.
    Today I had two very close encounters with different snakes. One was similar in colour but half the size and the other was only about a metre long but bright green with 5mm thick white lines not exactly zigzagging but circling its body.
    Because I have small children I just want to make sure they are harmless.
    Hoping you may be able to help.
    Thanks and look forward to hearing from you!
    Johanna

    Like

  15. Hi Matt,

    I just happened across your blog on google and noticed the interesting pictures and blog. I’m in high school right now and herpetology is one of the career options i am considering. Just wanted to know if you could hit me up with a few pointers.

    Sincerely,
    Ryan Marshall

    Like

  16. Hi Johanna,
    From your descriptions I believe the snakes you have encountered to be harmless. I would like to assure you that the only dangerous snake in Andalucia (Latastes viper- or Vipera latastei) very rarely ventures close inhabited areas. The first snake is likely to be a Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus in Latin). It is slighty venomous but don’t be concerned about this snake as they disappear very quickly when they see people. Your other snake is likely to be a Ladder snake, a completely harmless species often found around houses, gardens etc. If there is fresh water nearby your ‘striped’ snake could have been a Viperine water snake, again completely harmless.
    To reassure you I have never once heard of a viper being found in anyones garden in south Spain, as they are quite rare.
    For photos to help you identidy snakes you see you can look here: https://mwilsonherps.wordpress.com/trip-reports/andalusia/
    All the best,
    Matt

    Like

  17. Hi Matt, I just spotted a snake in my tree nersery, andalucia, Spain. It was about one metre plus long, quite thick, like a childs arm. In the shade it looked olive green and had no distintive markings. Can you help with identification? I cant find a photo to match.
    John.

    Like

  18. Hi John,
    From your description the snake is surely harmless, but a metre and olive green could be quite a few different species in Andalucia. Without markings it is likely to be a Montpellier snake, and if you have fresh water it could be either a Grass snake or a Viperine water snake. If you see it again maybe try to take a quick photo and send it to mjwilsonherp1@yahoo.co.uk and I will identify it for you.
    All the best,
    Matt

    Like

  19. Hello Matt,
    Now retired we have a holiday home on the Bodrum peninsula, Turkey and I have started to atempt a distribution survey on Turkish living forum for reptiles in the area. The problem is that distribution maps for various species are hard to find.
    I have started with snakes which don’t seem to be very well documented, do you know of any documentation or lists for Western Turkey ?.

    Like

  20. Hi Dave,
    I am not too familiar with Turkey, nor with any documentation listing species. I can however send you a pretty sure snake list for around Bodrum from what I know.
    Matt

    Like

  21. Hi Matt

    I have just returned from Kefalonia and saw a rather impressive snake in the mountains. It was around 1 metre long (uncoiled) and dark brown/grey in colour I checked in my ‘snake book’ and think it may be a Balkan whip snake. I have a lovely photo of it. Can i e.mail this to you to confirm which snake it is?
    Snakes have been a passion of mine since my Grampy made me watch a video about snakes when i was 4 years old to keep me quiet! I can’t quite put a finger on it but there is something very intriguing about snakes, especially venomous snakes. Every holiday i am always of in the bushes, looking under rocks for snakes.
    Many thanks
    Mel

    Like

  22. Hi Matt,

    I’m am erasmus biology student from Greece. I met you at the Manchester Museum.

    You seem to really love studying reptiles and amphibians. Your blog is very good!!

    Congratulations!!!

    Keep on with all that good and interesting work!

    Donna.

    Like

  23. Hi. A quick question– my daughter has a phobia about snakes. We are planning to travel in Andalucia in January. Would i be safe to assume we will NOT see any snakes at this time of year? Or are snakes still common in the area even in January, and we would be likely to see them? Your response would be so helpful and appreciated.

    Like

  24. Hi Gail,

    Generally the chance of most holiday makers coming across a snake is very unlikely. But it depends on what you do on holiday, if you go hiking etc you are far more likely to meet a snake or any wild animal than if you sit on the beach all day or go to the pub.
    January is however a month of very low activity of all reptiles, but occasionally individual lizards, snakes etc may be seen. In any case, you are far more likely to see a dead snake on a road, than a live one.
    Matt

    Like

  25. Hat tip Matt, we have some great snakes here in Cyprus but I’d have to confess to not being confident of identifying them even though I’d like to photograph them! I know we have a very large whip snake living in one of our rockeries – trouble is I have only seen it out once… Andy

    Like

  26. Hi Matt,

    This is an amazing blog! It will take me a while to read all the posts…it is definitely going to keep me busy! Absolutely beautiful pictures…Nice work, thanks for sharing it 🙂

    Like

  27. Hi Matt, I have spent years poking around for reptiles etc on various holidays in Greece, France, Cyprus…it comes as such a pleasant surprise to find that I’m not alone in doing this (I’m now 55!). (my daughter calls me ‘newt boy!’)
    Your photos are fabulous, as is your evident knowledge of local reptiles and amphibians. I amvery envious of the amount of time you are able to devote to this fun hobby – I tend to have to fit it in around other holiday activities.
    I don’t see Cyprus on your list – but would strongly recommend it – lots of lovely Agamas, plus several snake species including nose horned vipers, plus of course Chameleons, although I only ever managed to find a single specimen – I’m sure you guys would find lots!!!
    Keep those reports coming, they’re fantastic!
    regards,
    Martin

    Like

    • Hi Martin,
      Many thanks for your interest, its great to hear that you have suffered from the same eccentric disease as myself for so long. I will surely never be cured from my herping addiction 🙂 I have never been to Cyprus but will surely visit one day as there are a number of species I would be interested in seeing.
      Cheers,
      Matt

      Like

  28. Hola
    He descubierto tu blog y me gusta mucho. Muy buenas fotografias y tus comentarios son muy interesantes.
    Me interesan mucho los anfibios y reptiles y comparto contigo la pasión por observarlos y fotografiarlos en el campo.
    Felicidades por tu trabajo.
    Un saludo,
    Gonzalo Gil

    Like

    • Hola,
      Gracias por tus comentarios, acabo de ver tu blog tambien, me encantan las fotos de viboras, felicidades! De hecho, el ano que viene voy a ir en el norte de la peninsula Iberica para ver la Vipera seaonai, y seguire leyendo tu blog los proximos dias.
      Un saludo,
      Matt

      Like

  29. Hi!

    Awesome blog 🙂 I’ve just graduated from an MSc Conservation and a degree in biology, and I’m particularly interested in herps. I’m hoping to get some proper field experience, as I’ve only done a few weeks worth, and spent much too much time the last few years stuck indoors reading books… I’d like to plan a trip of my own but I’ve no idea where to start, or how to find people to go with! Any tips?

    Best wishes,

    Elli

    Like

  30. About forty years ago in Zante hanging from a roadside hedge was an enormous green snake as thick as my arm, have often wondered what species it was, can anyone help?

    Like

  31. hi Matt,

    My name is Ted Annis and I am a huge herper! I’ve been herping since I was a kid and the passion only gets stronger as I get older. When I’m not out turning over rocks and logs, I am trying to promote my car decal business. I have designed some incredible reptile and herpetology car decals and I was hoping that you might give them some love on your blog.

    I’d be happy to send you a few reptile decals of your choice for the favor!

    Here is the link to our herpetology decals: http://www.cardecalgeek.com/product-category/animals/reptiles-herpetology/

    Thanks!
    Ted

    Like

  32. Dear Matt!

    I’m a hungarian biology teacher living in Sweden. I’d much like to establish mail contact with you. We’ll be going to visit Crete in june this year. Best regards:

    Laszlo

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s