Balkan whip snake

Coluber
gemonensis

Balkan whip snake
(15 votes)

The Balkan whip snake (scient. Hierophis gemonensis or Coluber gemonensis) is a medium sized snake, which is commonly met in the island of Crete. It can reach a length of 1m, but is usually much shorter.

It is completely harmless for humans, as it’s non-venomous. When caught and feared, it may bite fiercely, but cannot cause any trouble. It usually lives in rocky areas near sea level, as it prefers warm places, but has also been observed at altitudes up to 1400m. Whip snakes are diurnal and usually like sunning during the day.

It preys mainly on other reptiles, large insects, small mammals and, occasionally, young birds. It hunts mostly on the ground but climbs very skillfully on bushes and low trees. In fact its Greek name dendrogalia, meaning treecat, is taken after its cat-like climbing on trees. When hanging it stands still and it is very difficult for someone to distinguish the snake from the branches.

The whip snake mates in late spring and females lay 3-10 eggs in mid-summer. In winter it hibernates, like all snakes on the island.

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