In Longarone in northern Italy (Dolomites, north of Belluno) is in late
spring a good and nice reptile fair.
In this year we, two Dutch friends and me, connected the ride in the end of
May to the Dolomites with some days of herping.
With some help of our Italian friends we were sure to find some local
After 13h driving the car (with 2 drivers) we arrived in Longarone at about
10:00 AM in best weather conditions (22°C, sunny) - and started to look for
snakes. In the hills around Longarone there are f. e. some habitats for the
Vipera ammondytes ruffoi left - that’s what we wanted to start with. There
is one special rocky area, where those secretive animals still live.
In 2 hours climbing around like mountain sheep’s we saw these animals:
Wall lizards - Podarcis muralis
But no snakes...
Nearly no snakes - one very flat aesculapian snake we saw an the road...
We were sure to revisit the place later.
So we looked around in the valley for more snakes- and enjoyed our
vacation, some snowy mountains tips and nice round views, more wall
lizards and some scorpions under thes stones...
And this is an other lizard genus, it is a Zootoca vivipara - our wood lizard.
Next day in the evening: next viper-trial - same place with a local scout ;-),
one of our friends there.
Cloudy weather, still 22°C.
But again no snake outside. This should have been the price:
It is a photo of one of our friend Emanuele Melani
witch he made some time before. The original is published on the page for the Italian herpetofauna
of arer.it - an italian herprelated organisation.
We told other friends about our (again) unlucky search for snakes. They
said that their receptionist of the hotel reported to them some viper-kills
in the garden...
Next morning they made a short step into the garden - and showed us later
this found - a juvenile aeculapian snake - hatched obliviously in 2005.
At the place where the young aesculapian snake is sat free a Coluber
viridiflavus just flees for mankind... If you await it not - sometimes you
(or in this case other..) have herping-luck.
After 2 days of reptile fair in a fine community we got an invitation into
the hills of Campone apr. 50 miles beside Longarone.
The weather changes - it began to rain and the temperatures decrease.
Those animals we found in an early night walk:
A common toad - Bufo bufo bufo
And then a slowworm Anguis fragilis fragilis
Next day we had the chance to check some other good herp places.
Fire salamander Salamandra salamandra salamandra are common here - and in
rainy weather sometimes diurnal. Here we have 2 adults active in the time
between 10 and 12 AM - and some juveniles.
An old quarry was the best local place for the reproducing of the common
toad Bufo bufo bufo, the green toad Bufo viridis, sometimes yellow-bellied
toads Bombina variegata and hundreds of the alpine newt Triturus alpestris.
Of most we saw adults or tadpoles.
After an extra very fine herp day after the fair (in amphibian weather) we
started to drive back to Germany.