Southern smooth snake France



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Southern smooth snake

Coronella girondica

Coronelle de Bordeaux

(Syn:Française-Couleuvre bordelaise, coronelle girondine) 

The Southern smooth snake is a small, round bodied snake 50cm to 80cm, the head is somewhat flat with a pointed front. At the rear of the head are two dark bands in the form of a V the open end of the V facing forwards; there is a black band which runs across the front of the head passing backwards through each eye. The back of the body is a uniform yellowish-grey with irregular transversal darker bands or blotches; the underside is lighter with small dark spots. 

Found in the west, south-west and south of France it tends to live at lower altitudes seeking dry, sunny open spaces where the vegetation is sparse; rocky hillsides, old quarries, stone walls, along the edges of open woodland and hedgerows.  Lizards are the main source of prey, rarely small mammals; on occasion geckos and young snakes. The young eat insects.

Photo.Southern smooth snake, Coronella girondica, France.

The main period of activity and prey seeking is during the night, generally spending the day inactive and under cover. It is not very agile and tends to move rather slowly, rarely being aggressive, although they can sometimes bite if handled and will also emit a foul scent from their anal glands. The Coronelle de Bordeaux does not like cold or wet and has a long hibernation period from September until April under a manure / compost heap or a rotting tree stump.

Coupling takes place in May and up to 10 eggs are produced in July, the young tend to be active during the day and only measure 10cm.



Population: in decline