Did You Hear Me Scream – SNAKE!!!!?

I am usually not too squeamish when it comes to insects, but snakes… ewww…

Grass snake
Grass snake

Natrix_natrix_(Marek_Szczepanek).jpg

Last week, I was walking in the garden at the side of the house when a snake, about 1.5m long, slithered onto the path in front of me. I froze in terror as it reared up and then zig-zagged towards me at great speed. Despite sporting a debilitating injury to my knee, I turned on sixpence and sprinted in the other direction. It’s incredible how the body reacts when faced with danger! My mind, however, was about to black-out in sheer terror as I screamed like a demented banshee.

I think my new friend is either an Iberian false smooth snake (Macroprotodon brevis) or grass snake. Maybe I’ll just call it Sam.

The last time I was this close to a snake it decided to join me for a swim and I launched myself like a rocket out of the pool in one athletic leap. And trust me when I tell you, my body is more grounded whale than athletic.

The snakes I’ve happened upon in Portugal so far have not been aggressive. But this beauty…phew.

I will also add my husband saw a snake on the road outside our house about a month ago. When he tried to ignore it and walk past it reared up, before slithering under our garden gate and into the hedge.

I knew it would only be a matter of time before we came into contact.

After extensive research I think the snake is either a False smooth snake (Macroprotodon cucullatus) which is a mildly venomous snake, or a grass snake. Given that Wikipedia states that grass snakes

‘They may perform an aggressive display in defence, hissing and striking without opening the mouth’

and

Grass snakes display a rare but known defensive behavior involving raising the front of the body and flattening the head and neck so that it resembles a cobra’s hood, although the geographic ranges of grass snakes and of cobras overlap very little.

I am going to opt for the grass snake. IT certainly raised its body and flattened its head

Snakes in Portugal

False Smooth Snake (Macroprotodon cucullatus)
Grass Snake (Natrix natrix)
Horseshoe Snake (Hemorrhois hippocrepis)
Ladder Snake (Rhinechis scalaris)
Smooth Snake (Coronella austriaca)
Southern Smooth Snake (Coronella girondica)
Viperine Water Snake (Natrix maura)
Western False Smooth Snake (Macroprotodon brevis)
Family: Lamprophiidae
Montpelier Snake (Malpolon monspessulanus)
Lataste’s Viper (Vipera latastei)
Portuguese Viper (Vipera seoanei)

Source: Wikipedia

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11 thoughts on “Did You Hear Me Scream – SNAKE!!!!?

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  1. Faithfully promise not to send one of our poisonous ones over by my genie! Inevitably see lots here Down Under each year . . . you walk around the garden path softly with a stick beating staccato to let them know to get out of the way 🙂 ! Some are annoying: like the small grass snakes hanging on trees like Christmas decorations and landing around your neck . . . for some one has to stop the car to let them to cross the road – carpet snakes I mean . . . the biggest way back must have been about 3+ metres long and far ticker than my arm . . . all depends on whether they are poisonous . . . . .

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  2. Eha, when I saw that snake, I actually thought of you in Australia and thanked God i did not live there. 🙂 I have taken to walking around the garden carrying a stick and prodding garden beds before i put my fingers in to weed them. There have been a few surprised geckos and lizards but so far no more sighting of Sami the snake. If a snake landed around my neck I think I’d die of fright.

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    1. Heavens, no 🙂 ! I can assure you we do not live in fear – many in urban areas have never seen a poisonous snake and we do know which spiders not to make pets! I just live semi-rurally near a National Park and there is a fair amount of native fauna around 🙂 !! Have yet to see a creepie-crawly this spring . . .

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  3. That’s usually how I act with spiders. My husband doesn’t appreciate the bravery when I stand my ground. Snakes don’t bother me but I think I would hightail it out of there if they reared up and headed for me. Seems rather sensible. 🙂

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  4. I love snakes! Holding one at the zoo transformed my fear of them- they are so strong and graceful. Here in Oz we have way too many poisonous ones indeed, but I love my harmless tree snake and the carpet pythons coming out now for Spring… take care in the long grass though indeed! G

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  5. It would have struck the fear of the devil in me to see a snake come for me like that! I lived in Africa for years but my encounters with snakes were not of the attacking variety. Had one once in a water pipe and was scared it would come up in the kitchen sink. Quite an adventure getting rid of it, but fortunately it was the gardener and the watchman who took on the challenge.

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