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Zamenis longissimus

Zamenis longissimus
Photo Information
Copyright: Dario Maric (DarioM) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 10 W: 0 N: 25] (174)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-04-24
Categories: Reptiles
Camera: Sony ericsson K800i
Exposure: f/2.8, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-07-09 5:08
Viewed: 5469
Points: 0
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Adults are up to 200 cm (225 cm), usually arround 140 cm, males longer than females (and have a longer tail). Av ery slender snake with a narrow head, eyes have round pupils. Adults can be brownish, greyish-greenish, even black (melanism) (first 20-40 cm can be a lighter colour) with white dots on the scale edges, especially on mid-body. Belly is yellow or whiteish, belly scales are keeled. Brownish coloured ones usually have yellow dots behind the head, so they can resemble a Grass Snake. Very similar to the Italian Aesculapian Snake (Zamenis lineatus (formerly Elaphe lineata)- S Italy). Albinism (completely white/yellowish white- 1 2) also noticed. Young have 4-7 rows of small black (brown) dots on body and often a dark V- or U- shaped pattern on the neck.

Scale count:
back- 23 (rarely 21), belly- 211-250, tail- 60-91 pairs.
Males mature at 100 cm,
females at around 85 cm.

Often in dry habitats, meadows with bushes and high grass, but also stone walls, rocky terrain and hay.

Diurnal, sometimes active into the night during hot days. Likes to bask, but flees from high temperatures. Can be very fast. Climbs very elegantly and skillfully on trees and bushes, sometimes straight up.Often flees from humans, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, but very often fells "comfortable" in human company and doesn't move. Often bites when handled and releases a not-so-pleasant contents from a cloacal gland (nothing dangerous, no odour, easy to wash off...), but in average settles down quickly and shows its placid nature. Gravid females are more agro.

Mice (during summer heats an adult can eat one every 3 days!), voles, sometimes sqirrels, lizards and nesting birds. Constricts its prey.

During mating season males can go up to 2 km in search of females. Females lay 2-18 (often 5-11) elongated, pear-shaped eggs (35-60 mm x 17-25 mm) under ground, into holes in trees, compost heaps... (sometimes communally with the Grass Snake).
Can live 25-30 years.

*This species of snake is associated with the Greek/Roman god of healing Asclepius (Aesculapius).

*With some other species it take part in a religious preocession in Central Italy in the town of Cucullo (they release the snakes back into the wild afterwards).

From www.zh.zadweb.biz.hr

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