Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Such a cute little snake!

I managed to miss this bit out of yesterday's post, so will just have to add it now.
On Friday afternoon, Jenny and I walked down to the beach for a swim and came across this little guy on the footpath, obviously not well, but not entirely dead.

Not knowing if he was poisonous, I picked him up with a stick and dropped him under the hedge by the path.

On our return, he was there, and now was clearly dead, so we carried him home.  I put him on Jenny's filofax for the photo, as the camera underexposed him when he was lying directly on the white, plastic table.

We looked him up on the net, and he's a Horseshoe Whip Snake, and non-venomous.  This one's only about 30 cm long, (that's a 2 euro piece) but they grow to 1.5 metres.  They're quite common around the western Mediterranean, but are threatened by habitat loss.  It's possible this one was threatened by dehydration, since the area is suffering a terrible drought, and even the prickly pears are looking sorry for themselves!  Hence all the wildfires, of course.

We checked the online catalogue of Jenny's museum, and discovered that they don't have a specimen of this snake, so we curled him up in a small bottle and stuck him in the freezer, then put him in a round wooden box that was lying around, and brought him home in hold luggage.  We figured the temperature drops quite a long way in the hold, so that would keep him frozen, with any luck.

Jenny was going to take him to work today, but I've not heard what kind of reception she got.

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