Leopard snake

Elaphe
situla

Leopard snake
(12 votes)

The leopard snake (scient. Elaphe situla or Zamenis situla) is the most beautiful species of snake in Greece, with characteristic orange-red markings on its back. In Crete it is called ochentri, which means viper, which is incorrect as the snake is completely harmless. This false impression has been caused by a V sign on its head, which is similar to that of vipers. The Greek name is spitofido, i.e. house snake, originates from the Cyclades Islands, where people deliberately brought leopard snakes in their cellars and storage areas, so as to control mice populations.

It has similar behavior with the whip snake, but prefers wetter habitats. It reaches up to 1.2m in length and prefers places up to 1600m altitude. It feeds on rodents, lizards and sometimes young birds, ambushing among rocks and over bushes. They mate on late spring and females lay 2-8 eggs. If caught it is very likely to bite, but still it is harmless.

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