Site icon Amphibian & Reptile Travels


In September 2007 I moved to the south of France for five months. Although I was there for the winter I still found abit of time to search for reptiles and amphibians in this species rich area close to the French Pyrénées. I enjoyed my time in this area of the Mediterranean so much that in July 2008 I returned to stay with Herpetologist friend Daniel Phillips at his village in the beautiful sun drenched, vineyard covered hillsides. Furthermore we left the Mediterranean lowlands for several days to ascend to higher altitudes where it was cooler to search for some other species in the Pyrénées.

All photographs (C) Matt Wilson

Gravid female Fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) found in December 2007

Female Fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra)
Male Fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) from the same site as the female
Huge Marsh frog (Rana ridibunda)
Natterjack toad (Bufo calamita)
Grass snake (Natrix natrix) feeding on a Common toad (Bufo bufo)
Juvenile Painted frog (Discoglossus pictus)
Grass snake (Natrix natrix)
The river Agly as it passes through the hillsides west of Perpignan
Vineyard habitats home to many snake, lizard and amphibian species
A hatchling Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus) rescued from a hillside road
Adult Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus)
A Grass snake (Natrix natrix) feigning death
Juvenile Ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus)
Artificial canal used to water vines, a great habitat for amphibians and water snakes
Common toad (Bufo bufo)
Mediterranean tree frog (Hyla meridionalis)
Painted frog (Discoglossus pictus)
Mediterranean tree frog (Hyla meridionalis) resting during the daytime
Common midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans)
Little holes, home to midwife toads
Viperine snake (Natrix maura)
Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus)
Young Slow worm (Anguis fragilis)
Very large female Common toad (Bufo bufo spinosus)
Mediterranean tree frog (Hyla meridionalis)
Female Common toad (Bufo bufo spinosus)
Habitat in the Mediterranean where the garrigue meets the vineyards
The first of two Ladder snakes (Rhinechis scalaris) found at night
Second Ladder snake (Rhinechis scalaris)
Ocellated lizard (Timon lepidus)


During my summer trip myself and Daniel Phillips decided after several days in the Mediterranean part of south west France that it was too hot so went went higher up into the Pyrenees to search for reptiles and amphibians. The species found in this area are alot more temperate than those found lower down, and can tolerate much colder temperatures. Our main targets for these few days were the Pyrenean Asp viper (Vipera aspis zinnikeri) and the Pyrenean subspecies of Sand lizard (Lacerta agilis garzoni). Many thanks to Patrice Baud for his help during these few days.

Landscape in the French Pyrenees
Habitat of Common frog (Rana temporaria) in the Pyrenees
Common frog (Rana temporaria)
Habitat for Smooth snake (Coronella austriaca), Asp viper (Vipera aspis), Common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis) and Sand lizard (Lacerta agilis)
Smooth snake (Coronella austriaca)
Smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) found active around dusk
Sand lizard (Lacerta agilis garzoni)
Common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis)
Female Common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis)
Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara)
A dead Western whip snake (Hierophis viridiflavus) found dead on a country road
Larvae of Fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra)
The first Asp viper that we caught (Vipera aspis zinnikeri)
Second Asp viper (Vipera aspis zinnikeri)
Third Asp viper (Vipera aspis zinnikeri)
Fourth Asp viper (Vipera aspis zinnikeri)
Fifth and last Asp viper (Vipera aspis zinnikeri)
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