8 June 2007

Couleuvre à collier ( Natrix natrix) Grass snake

At the moment we see snakes almost every day.

Usually they glide off, back to the compost heap, or under the goat shed or into the woods but this one hung around long enough for me to run back to the house and get my camera.

I think I've photographed this snake before. I also think he's (or she's) been around for a while, lives in the big compost heap near the greenhouse and knows our voices.

This is exactly the sort of thing that makes me so excited about living here in France with all this land around us and the freedom to spend all the time I want taking photographs of a snake.

I feel that each day is full of adventure and that we're surrounded by friends.

Here are some photographs of the snakes I've seen here when I've had my camera handy.

A 1.6 metre Green and Yellow grass snake – or Western whip snake - Couleuvre verte et Jaune (Coluber viridiflavus) in the hay - this one gave me a bit of a shock when I walked into the goat shed!

Lovely 1.6m grass snake in the hay

Smaller snake of the same variety in the compost heap

Couleuvre- Grass snake

Large thick-skinned grass snake pecked by our hens, which "played dead" until I took it away from them, then it moved fast out of harm's way.

get a good look at its eyes

Couleuvre or Grass snake - completely harmless and rather lovely once you get over the initial (and completely natural) jitters of seeing a snake. To see this snake larger and get a good look at it's round pupils, click on the photo then click on the magnifying glass above the photo in Flickr.

Couleuvre or Grass snake - completely harmless and rather lovely

We regularly see the chickens attacking snakes, the smaller ones are killed quickly with a peck to the head and the larger ones are pecked to death by a gang of chickens. This little grass snake didn't make it. I've seen our chickens killing vipers and yet none of the chickens has ever been harmed.

Chicken just about to kill a grass snake

Chick with young snake which it killed itself. Later the snake was pulled apart and eaten by a group of about 15 chickens.

Chick with snake

For more information on snakes in France, this Planete Passion site is excellent.

4 comments:

WENDY BANDURSKI-MILLER said...

I totally understand what you mean... sometimes i get all excited about what seems to some the most mundane..... like bumble bees....... the HUGE ones here are just ADORABLE..... i mean they are positively CUTE....no bumblebees like that in western australia so i completely appreciate where you are ocming from ... and well i tend to have the camera no more than arms length from me at all times...... its the artists curse the seeing things different and i totally love it....i like snakes too ...... i can't wait to see one here...... and take photos.......

RUTH said...

I love your garden and your enthusiasum....I read the other day that here in the UK grass snakes are on the decline...so sad.

josie said...

Hi love youe farm site. Saw you after looking for info on snake found in garden here in Dordogne. Love to come on an open day and visit your farm for info on being self sufficient as much as possible. Cheers Jo and Saeid

La Ferme de Sourrou said...

Hi Jo and Saeid,

You're welcome to come and visit - just send me an e-mail beforehand and we can sort out a time.

Irene & Fabrice

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