An hour in the life of a baby snake

Most of the afternoon, we didn’t spot the guest lounging beside the swimming pool. A baby Montpellier snake – identified by his spotted skin, which will become fairly uniform as he matures – lying almost entirely hidden by the long thin shadow of the pool railing. Thin, thinner than the size of my little finger, he was about a foot long, curled up around himself in S’s. Then he awoke and stretched, his head nudging into the strong March afternoon sun. About 24°C.

And then he spotted us, or felt the vibration of our footsteps, and he made a break for it. Dropping into the water, at first he swam along the edge. But with each attempt to climb out, wriggling the front half of his body to dry land, he failed to get his tail out of the water. And so he swam out into the deep water. A quick and efficient swimmer, next he swam to the steps where he stuck his head about the surface and gulped air before heading off again. 

By now, we feared he was stuck. And so we intervened with the pool net. We left him to dry in the sun. When we returned thirty minutes later, he was gone.

[photo: Wikipedia]

We know there must be snakes around us in the countryside but rarely see them, except for dead snakeskins. The adult Montpellier snake [above] grows up to 2m long, is active during the day and eats lizards. It is not dangerous to humans.

‘Field Guide: Reptiles and Amphibians of Britain & Europe’ [Collins]

5 to remember
el invitado– the guest
una serpiente bebé– a baby snake
mi dedo meñique– my little finger
la mitad delantera– the front half
treinta minutos más tarde-thirty minutes later

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
An hour in the life of a baby snake #Nature in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley 

2 thoughts on “An hour in the life of a baby snake

  1. Bird Watcher

    Hi Sandra The lovely snake you had swimming in your pool last month is in the Natrix family of snakes that include Grass Snake (Natrix natrix) and hence its love for swimming in water. It is a harmless Viperine Water Snake (Natrix maura) . The zig-zag along the snake’s spine is the main Viper-like/ Viperine character giving the snake it’s name.
    [ Sorry, for being pedantic on ID’s – I am a bit OCD at the moment !
    Snakes are especially catching my interest at the moment after encountering Dice snake and nearly stepping on a scary Horned Viper – deadliest European snake- in Bulgaria this year ].



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