snakes

grania Image
09/17/2009 - 08:09

we found a 3 foot long snake skin by our house during our recent visit to marcheit appears to have been shed as the snake squeezed through a tight gap in the walli was aware there were snakes but not this bigmy question is are they dangerous?if they bite should you seek immediate medical attention?the borders of our garden are uncut and left wild and we have a 6 year old son who gets everywhere 

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your 3 foot snake was not a viper. they are about 2 feet long with the body suddenly diminishing at the end into a cute little tail. the head is V shaped. they tend to move very slowly so you can tread on them by mistake. if one of those bites you then yes, pronto sicorso. The big ones (green or brown) go like a rocket at first sight of you so most unlikely to bite you. We had a couple in the house when it was very hot so keep an eye out if you are near outside cover. I got the tape on a brown one I whacked with a broom and it was 1.2m long.

From your description the snake you 'whacked with a broom' (did you kill it by the way?) was in all likelihood a Leopard Snake ; not dangerous to humans, non aggressive to humans, and completely innocent of any crime other than to be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time by a broom weilding moron. If this sums up your general attitude to the wildlife in Italy, ie if it moves, kill it - maybe you should just stay at home in England or wherever it is you live as the Italian countryside can really do without this kind of stupidity.

This site has photos of many european snakes  http://www.herp.it/go to the "Index (Common)" page and look in the index for 'Snakes' - where the many European ones are listed.  If you click on the name, the pictures pop up, and underneath the last picture it gives the snake's distribution

In reply to by alan h

I had no idea that there were so many varieties of vipers to look out for.  Spotted, striped, solid colours - every possible combination.  I'm giving all snakes a wide berth!L.

I was just pottering around near our pool pump (which is in the ground), and as I lifted the lid, there (curled up) was a small-ish viper !! I would assume that, if it had 'stretched' out, it may have been 20cms long, It fell into the pool pump housing and is now located at the bottom of same in an inch or so of muddy water!How do I get it out?   Any ideas?Thanks in advance......................S

If you put a branch or stick, anything with a bit of purchase, down there it should climb out. If you leave it there it will be also useful for other small mammals, lizards etc. It is a good idea to do something similar with a pool to help creatures clamber out after a swim.If you want something faster then you can lower a container down on a bit of string, the snake will probably try & hide in there & you can reel him up. Put some wellies on as bite protectors, but it is unlikely that he will want to do anything other than crawl away & hide once you get  on the surfaceIn bocca al lupo Chris 

 and brought it to her four kittens which she had kindly deposited on our doorstep about 7 weeks ago. It had no head but was very thin and silvery coloured. I got my OH to deal with it and throw it into the campo. Sadly they also caught a small blue tit which was also brought along to entertain them. We've had them come out of a water pipe when it has been raining the brown ones - maybe throw it a rubber ring? Sorry not helpful I know... Jo and Simon

Please consider the benifits of snakes!'Another benefit to snakes is their eating habits. Their consumption of rodents and insects can serve as a natural form of pest control, eliminating the need for commonly used chemicals and poisons that can harm plant and animal life in an ecosystem. A single black snake can consume dozens of rats in a single year.'You may not be used to getting up close and personal with snakes in the UK but they really are essential to the natural food chain so try to overcome your instinct to kill them!

Earlier this year one of our dogs was bitten by a viper - and believe me a Viper's bite is no laughing matter !!!You can read about our experience at our Blog:  http://trecancelle.wordpress.com/2009/05/14/the-proverbial-snake-in-the-grass/The dog almost died, it was nigh on impossible to find any Viper Anti-venom.  It seems there is a worldwide shortage of the stuff.My advice is If you get bitten by a Viper head straight for Pronto Socorso. It is particularly dangerous for small children or people with existing health problems.Wear strong shoes or boots, not open shoes / sandals and avoid walking about in long grass.I usually stomp about alot hoping to frighten off anything that may be lurking in the undergrowth !!!We too have seen long black snakes on our land, in Italian I think they are known as a Biscia, apparently they are pretty harmless, and are rather timid.  Usually they come near the house when it is very hot during the summer and they are looking for water.This year there also seem to be lots of Calabrone / hornets.

flyingvee that sums it up for me too !  But I think we need to try by gentle persuasion to get people to love snakes ! Basically whoever 'designed ' this world knew a hell of a lot more than us and made sure that where there are pests there will be animals to control them , so everything was in balance .Then we arrived . 

Precisely !!!We need to respect nature and try to live alongside it wherever possible in harmony with nature, not fight against it. This is our aim.Our worst enemies in fact turn out to br "Weekend Hunters".  Not local folk who have a certain respect for nature, but those who just  blast their way through it !!!Anyone else out there who through Autumn / Winter months, find themselves plagued by hunters?

Less plagued than our first year here, the numbers do seem to tail off and we are now into our fourth season here in Italy.It is well known on this forum that I do not like the hunters, they come too close to the house, we have 4cats and I worry they will get shot, and whilst I have to accept that they have the right to tramp over my land I do not like it. I am sure that some are more diligent in obeying the rules, but many are not, I witnessed one guy  last week just behind our house lift up his dog by its front paw and sling it into the back of his car, it squealed in pain, which demonstrates what a barbaric and cruel lot some of them are. I am only grateful that they seem to be such rubbish shots that they end up shooting each other rather than the animals and birds.A

We agree too.  We lived in countryside in England before moving to Italy and have always felt that humans are the scurge of the planet.  Killing to survive is one thing, killing just so you can dress up like rambo and have a bit of fun is monstrous.  It is totally wrong, in my opinion, that the few should deprive the majority of the wonders of wildlife.  I think we should all be able to see rabbits, hares, fox, deer etc in their natural environment and the sound of birdsong is sadly lacking at this time of year when the boys are out killing everything that moves.  Last year we saw 2 baby badgers on the white road towards our house and it was amazing.  We have eagles fly over and we had wolf cubs visit last spring too.  I get really stressed as hunting season approaches knowing what I will have to witness.  Last year some morons turned up with netting that they stretched totally across a field, from the road down to the calanchi.  Some then took dogs and chased everything into the nets whilst a couple of **** sat on their fat ***** waiting for these poor defenseless animals to get caught up in nets and then caught by dogs.  We screamed and screamed at them and told them we hope they come back as a snared rabbit in their next life.  And yes we have had deer destroy trees, rabbits eat vegetables etc - so what.  Life is more important and I would rather look at a graceful deer than a perfect tree.  

While I do try to stop rabbits and rats invading our garden and eating all the veg its quite easy to do humanely.There have been huge problems with rabbits recently as some of the 'old boys' around here decided to put out poison which not only killed foxes but also birds of prey. Now we have rabbits ! If I hear anyone tell me that the old ways are the best I will scream.Unfortunately some people seem to feel so intimidated by their local hunters that they get pressurised to accept a situation that they feel very unhappy about.I personally see no reason why its would be unacceptable to tell hunters that they were not welcome. Playing loud music - (Opera or rap works best ) will not go down well , parking your car in a way that prevents them getting their cars in to your land all work but when they ask you to stop or move the car you must smile sweetly as if you dont understand them .Or tell them in English its broken down. A drum kit may also be a worthwhile purchase particullarly if you felt the need to practise on a Sunday morning - out in the garden!Be very wary of getting into slanging matches.You will only make yourself upset and may well trigger an assult particullary if they've been on the Grappa.

 I own a piece of land and we are sometimes visited by hunters. I am a veggie and am therefore upset by the hunting. I feel that there are ways to stop hunters coming on your land. Get to know them, ask them nicely. If you are living here permanantly the last thing you need is to become a social pariah. We are trying to communicate with our neighbours and not alienate them. I realise that there is no tresspass law in Italy and it appears that only the Comune can designate "No Hunting" areas... I came to Italy to live here, and have to some extent accept the way things are, after all they have been this way for so long.Maybe to change things takes a little longer & one has to be more understanding. We do not own the land we just look after it for a bit eh? Sprat

Well Pilch I agree 100%. We have to get on with local people as we are the outsiders and should try and integrate as best we can. There are many ways to 'get your own way' and confrontation will not work with any Italian. We have opted to get involved in a different culture by being here; if you don't like it we know what we can do.Imagine a similar scenario if we were back in the UK and an Italian neighbour asked us to refrain from playing football/rugby/cricket on a local field....... thier traditions are as valid as ours.

There is a new bill going through the Italian parliament at present focused on educating children from an early age to appreciate animals/wildlife, and hopefully to conserve it rather than destroy it. It also pays attention to the overcrowded animal "sanctuaries", some of which have been a disgrace. Hopefully in time as Italy moves on the culture will change. Certainly the young people I talk to and also some of the older ones do not find hunting appealing in its current unregulated state and want to move on to a more modern way of thinking.The fact that animals are still being abandoned and left by the road side illustrates that there is a way to go, I live in hope of a less casual, cruel approach, and believe it will come within the time these young people grow up.A

 it really does to see the amount of abandoned animals here. I agree with you Angie. Educating the young & hopefully it will change in time. We have heard and seen some cruel acts on animals & maybe, we are softies.Sprat

Most Hunters here seem to have very little respect for Wildlife or their own animals ( examples of poorly kept Dogs left tied up all day in a pen, abound around here). Until they learn to respect Animals tehn stories of cruelty will never end. I have seen wounded deer limping around and have witnessed dogs being clubed to death when past their usefulness as hunting dogs; all of which sickens me.In the UK I used to go Shooting and I and my fellow hunters would never dream of treating any animal without the respect it deserved and would spend hours trying to track any wounded animal to despatch it humanely.The strict gun laws in the UK helped to weedle out any moron wanting to go and take potshots at anything that moved, but I suspect that a look at the legislation here would cut down on the number of Sunday Cowboys wandering around our woods.