Montpellier snakes, viperines, Gironde coronellas… is there an increase in snakes in Occitanie ?

Montpellier snakes, viperines, Gironde coronellas... is there an increase in snakes in Occitanie ?

Montpellier snakes, viperines, Gironde coronellas... is there an increase in snakes in Occitanie ?

Maxime Briola avec un beau spécimen de couleuvre de Montpellier. MIDI LIBRE – M. B.

Reptiles come out of their hibernation period to reproduce. You can come across a few species including the Montpellier snake. But in general, their population is declining.

It was during the sunny days at the beginning of April, before winter continued a bit and the season returned to mild temperatures. Snakes have appeared on terraces and in gardens in the region.

A misadventure experienced by a few people, like every year, including a family from Castries. A snake from Montpellier came to play curious as the family was getting ready to go on vacation. Exit from between the slats of the wooden terrace. "I have two children aged 5 and 2, I went out to try to dislodge it with a stick, she returned to her hiding place. She quickly came out, to sneak under the terrace again", remembers Ludovic, the dad. After putting down a harmless repellent, the family never saw the reptile again, probably heading for other horizons.

A protected species

"We are in the middle of coming out of hibernation, there are quite a few births, which is very positive"< /em>, enthuses Dorian Blayac, founder of SOS Reptiles. A reptile protection association which would like the observed resurgence to be "a reality. That would be good news. Unfortunately, it’s quite the opposite", assures the specialist who immediately specifies that the danger from these snakes is very low : "You should definitely not try to kill her or move her. It’s a protected species. In general, the snake goes in search of freshness and water but it avoids contact with human beings".

What to do if bitten ?

Even though they are extremely rare, snake bites should not be taken lightly."In all cases, you must report a bite, to a doctor for a human being and to a veterinarian for an animal", recommends Dorian Blayac from SOS Reptiles. Only the bites of the asp viper and the white-footed viper are dangerous for humans. in this case, "you must immediately call the firefighters", insists Jean-Laurent Hentz. Who will be able to say whether the bitten person should be hospitalized.

This can have a deleterious effect on blood pressure. You may also have feelings of discomfort, or even allergic signs (discomfort in breathing, swelling of the throat, redness of the skin. This may go beyond if the quantity of venom injected is significant, which will require hospitalization for a long time). rsquo;emergency In all cases, you must call 15 at the slightest bite, white or not…


If you want to come across snakes, Gwenaëlle Faucon, head of the Maison de la nature in Lattes, around the wonderful site of Méjean welcomes "one of the largest populations of snakes in Montpellier. It is a very discreet animal that we only see, nestled at the foot of tamarisk trees, if we take the trouble.< /p>

White Bite

With these reptiles, we can hope to see other species: the viperine and the ladder snake. We can also hope to find Gironde coronellas and grass snakes. Venomous but not very dangerous species. The only one that represents a danger is the asp viper found in the scrubland. According to Jean-Laurent Hentz, naturalist expert in the Gard, "because it’s a snake that does not flee. If you have a picnic and sit on it, she will bite, but often without inoculating venom because it is her most precious possession, she only gets rid of it wisely. We then speak of a white bite".

The 11 species that can be found in the region

In the region, you can be brought to the hotel. &agrav; cross 11 species of snakes: nine species of snakes, the most common of which are: the snake snake necklace, the Girondine, of Aesculapius, the green and yellow, à Among them, the smooth snake, the pit viper and of course the Montpellier snake. Some are exclusively located on the coast, others in the scrubland. We also find two species of vipers: the vip; re asp and, much more rarely, the viper péliade.

Maxime Briola, naturalist guide member of the association “Regard du vivant” has been observing these unloved snakes for many years. Passionate, he rather observes "a decline in the number of reptiles often crushed on the roads". But in May and June, as soon as it is hot and humid, "It’s a very favorable time to come across them because they are moving around. The males look for females, the young born the year before move to explore new territories". It’s also a period when we "are out more taking care of the garden, so meetings are more frequent. The rest of the year they are very little active…" But don't panic, their dangerousness is relative. As for their aggressiveness, it will only show if you do not try to approach them.

“Overcoming fears and myths”

The Montpellier snake, an emblematic snake of the Mediterranean south, is the most common snake in the region. It bears its name because of the facultyé of Montpellier, "very influential and very active during the naming of animals", estimates naturalist expert Jean-Laurent Hentz. Its population is declining "à due to road traffic which has become denser , notes Maxime Briola. In the past, we could observe two-metre Montpellier snakes, today it is almost impossible. If it bites, it is not a dangerous reptile: "It would have to bite its prey for several seconds and in depth unlike the viper which has hooks connected to the glands of the body. venom".

According to Maxime Briola, the snake is a little-known animal. And he spends a lot of his time "&agrave fight against preconceived ideas among children, on the Méjean à Slats to overcome the fears and myths that surround them".

I subscribe to read more

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(function(d,s){d.getElementById("licnt2061").src= ";r"+escape(d.referrer)+ ((typeof(s)=="undefined")?"":";s"+s.width+"*"+s.height+"*"+ (s.colorDepth?s.colorDepth:s.pixelDepth))+";u"+escape(d.URL)+ ";h"+escape(d.title.substring(0,150))+";"+Math.random()}) (document,screen)