Watch out for the Vipers - danger to dogs and cats

Keep eyes open… and take care…

In other words, keep your dogs and especially your cats under your control at all times . And remember that harming or disturbing any french amphibian or reptile , including vipers , is a a legal offence

Have you ever tried keeping a cat under control Parsnips ? Unlike dogs they don’t obey but rather go their own ‘snooty’ independant way :wink::smirk_cat::smirk_cat::cat2::cat2:

1 Like

Yes , I know the world is full of cat worshippers ,-my wife is one!- but I recognise the fact that domestic cats are an alien species which slaughters native wildlife in huge numbers, when allowed to wander at will. Posters elsewhere have told how they have managed to confine their cats, after they have lost a few to local hunters.

I’m afraid if I found a viper, in my garden, it would be in trouble, having seen the effect of a bite in Scotland.

Of course, common sense does have to come into play on occasion… a snake basking beside our school gates, was dealt with swiftly a few years back. :zipper_mouth_face:… by the Mairie staff…

1 Like

I’m afraid common sense usually goes out the window when people see a snake; european snakes are in the vast majority non- venomous and harmless, and seek only to escape from humans . Most people who are bitten by vipers are so in the course of “dealing with” them, or stupidly handling them. . A few minutes study online will show the quite distinct difference between vipers and all the other ,harmless, french snakes. It must be said , however , that many french country-dwellers are even more ignorant and hysterical about snakes than the Brits. .
If faced with a possible viper in the house, which doesn’t make itself scarce, either keep clear and call the pompiers, or sweep it into a bin or box , using a long-handled brush , then wearing heavy gloves take the box away from the house and tip the snake into undergrowth. Given the chance to get into somewhere dark , like a bin, a snake will often catch itself.
Remember , many more people die of bee and wasp stings than snake bites in europe , and even in Australia , which teems with venomous snakez -see here;
I speak as a one-time reptile keeper at a well-known UK Zoo

The only one I’ve seen in France was, sadly, becoming part of the road surface.

I have heard there are grass snakes, at least, in the wooded plot adjacent to our garden. I’m not sure there’s quite enough cover & undergrowth to make an adder happy but I wouldn’t discount the possibility.

No legislation to stop vipers harming humans and animals though😉
I’ve been bitten once…not pleasant.

1 Like

Anyone care to confirm what this snake is… very long, very thick bodied… we presumed it was a grass snake at the time, although it was up in a bush… (OH was quite surprised to come face to face with it, while he was strimming) …

Couleuvre verte et Jaune je pense

Yes, I think you are correct… the Western Whip Snake (dark colouration).

OH dashed back to the house to fetch me and my camera… :relaxed::upside_down_face:

Saw one of them 2m long in our “garden” a few years ago.

I’ve been bitten by a viper too, on my heel. Quite painful and leg swollen to my knee. Took antihistamines and it was fine the next day.

Yes , definitely Western Whip Snake , which although quite harmless to humans can be very menacing -looking if cornered , raising the front third of its body (quite a lot if 2 metres long) and striking (but usually with mouth closed) I have been bitten by one while handling it but it is quite insignificant and barely draws blood.
Incidently , two of my (adult) sons who share my interest in reptiles, have been accidentally bitten by vipers -one in England -adder, and one in italy -asp viper. Both survived intact after treatment ,neither would ever deliberately harm a snake -both recognised that it was their lack of care that got them bitten, but both will be more cautious in future ,
One piece of advice , never walk in rough country (anywhere) without stout walking shoes or boots -many bites follow stepping on vipers in flimsy footwear.

When living in S Portugal, in the middle of the village one day saw a black snake, easily thicker than my arm, and pretty ‘lengthy’, what would that have been Pat’, there were also ‘horned vipers’, happily the mongoose was very common :grin:
The Portugese hated any snakes !

Excellent objective advice and information, thank you!

In S. Portugal there are only three native species big enough to fit your sighting , two completely harmless -the "Horseshoe Whip Snake and the Ladder Snake. Neither is normally Black , but melanism is quite common in snakes. There is also the Montpellier Snake which is a back-fanged slightly venomous species (it catches mice and lizards and bites them as it swallows - venom speeds digestion) which can reach 2.5 metres , also found in S.France - the only way a human , or large animal, could be harmed is by placing a digit or paw deep into the snakes mouth.
A general rule in europe is that if a snake is very slender in proportion to its length and/or over about 1 metre long it is almost certainly non-venomous.

Thanks Pat that’s interesting, the black one was certainly big, never saw a horned viper though. The Mongooses were interesting, one of the few critters my wee Portugese Terrier would not tangle with!
I often saw them in the ‘campo’, and they used to often be visible, running along a dry stone wall outside my bathroom window in the morning, when I was giving the ‘gnashers’ a brush.
I was lucky enough to see a lynx in the same area. :slightly_smiling_face:

Not just vipers that are dangerous to dogs our near neighbours dog got bitten on the head by a grass snake a week ago and the next morning the dog was very ill, after a visit to the local vet he told them that it was indeed a grass snake bite which contains a lot of very bad bacteria and that the wound had become very infected and was seeping pus, strong antibiotics and antiseptic cream were prescribed and a head collar fitted, after 8 days their dog is making a good recovery.

I think it’s been mentioned before, but ‘Processionary Caterpillars’ are Very Dodgey for animals and indeed people, kids, saw them near here recently;
I almost lost my wee Portugese dog, in Portugal, to them, luckily, an Irish Vet I took Her to there, recognized the problem (necrosis of the tongue) and treated her, successfully :+1: