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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

Snakes in Spain

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) SJPDP-SDC
Camino Norte 2018
Pilgrims Office Volunteer 2018
#1
While walking down into Molinaseca June of 2016, (about 3 KM's before) saw this snake on the Camino just kind of minding it's own business. Took a picture and moved on my way. I have been trying to figure out what type of snake this is since I've been back and have whittled it down to maybe three different snakes. Can anyone perhaps settle this if you are familiar with "Snakes in Spain" (not to be confused with "Snakes in Planes) for me?
Thank you in advance!!!!! Ed Camino de Santiago pics May 24-June 14 2016 and beyond 1412.JPG
 

jo webber

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 9th 2017
#2
Hard to tell from the photo, did it have a pointed nose?
If not, it may just be a common garden snake judging by the markings. Pointed nose usually means it a viper of some sort.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#4
Hate to disagree but I doubt it is one of the viper species: wrong body shape, head too rounded, spot pattern on the back too regular. My best guess would be either a smooth snake or a false smooth snake. I suspect the latter. Mildly venomous, mostly eats lizards but pretty much harmless to humans.
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
#5
While walking down into Molinaseca June of 2016, (about 3 KM's before) saw this snake on the Camino just kind of minding it's own business. Took a picture and moved on my way. I have been trying to figure out what type of snake this is since I've been back and have whittled it down to maybe three different snakes. Can anyone perhaps settle this if you are familiar with "Snakes in Spain" (not to be confused with "Snakes in Planes) for me?
Thank you in advance!!!!! Ed.
The likeliest type is the Iberian Viper. Comes in a variety of colour tones and markings. There is a lengthy discussion on this previous thread along with more photos.
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/snakebit.15072/#post-316213

Blessings
Tio Tel
 
D

Deleted member 12253

Guest
#6
While walking down into Molinaseca June of 2016, (about 3 KM's before) saw this snake on the Camino just kind of minding it's own business. Took a picture and moved on my way. I have been trying to figure out what type of snake this is since I've been back and have whittled it down to maybe three different snakes. Can anyone perhaps settle this if you are familiar with "Snakes in Spain" (not to be confused with "Snakes in Planes) for me?
Thank you in advance!!!!! Ed View attachment 31031
Saw a viper near Grannon last spring. Very dangerous
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (15 April 2013)
Camino Portuguese (1 May 2014)
Camino Mozárabe from Málaga (8 April 2015)
Camino del Norte & Camino Ingles (April 2016)
#7
I got a bit up close and personal with this guy in the woods the on the Ingles last year. I am told it is s a viper. Never one to miss a photo opportunity, but I will be a bit more wary if I see another one.

IMG_6078.JPG
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#9
To the potential Camino walkers out there who are inexperienced walking in nature, or just plain have no interest in encountering a snake (I didn't want to say afraid of), do not be concerned. In all likelihood you will not see a snake while walking the Camino, and if by some chance you do, it ain't gonna mess with you. Just give it wide berth.
Be more concerned with getting blisters or sore knees. :)
 

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (15 April 2013)
Camino Portuguese (1 May 2014)
Camino Mozárabe from Málaga (8 April 2015)
Camino del Norte & Camino Ingles (April 2016)
#10
@Magwood - Looks like a viper to me. Given the location and lack of snout probably the Seoane's viper that @Tincatinker posted about above. Unless you were using a long lens you must have been closer than I would get and I am a reptile fan :)
I was using a zoom, but on reflection was much closer than was wise!
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#12
Well coming from the country with 7 of the 10 deadliest snakes I treat ALL snakes with a healthy degree of caution. So a word to the less experienced - distance to snake not closer than twice the estimated length of the snake (err on the side of caution - if it looks 12/1500 mm (4 to 5 feet) then keep at least 3 metres (10 feet) away. If you give the snake fair warning it will move off - don't try to kill it or throw stones at it.

Given the altitude of the country around Molinaseca its probable that the snake was trying to find a sunny place to warm up. Cheers
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) SJPDP-SDC
Camino Norte 2018
Pilgrims Office Volunteer 2018
#13
Hard to tell from the photo, did it have a pointed nose?
If not, it may just be a common garden snake judging by the markings. Pointed nose usually means it a viper of some sort.
I enlarged the pic I have and yes it does have a somewhat pointed head....it is flat at the very end.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
#14
I actually pinned this same snake species on my walk a couple different times. They are vipers, just small & very aggressive when you trap them. They have no qualm to strike & move aggressively to the threat. If you have no or little experience with snakes do not mess with them & do not flip rocks over with your hands. They will simply move away from you unless you trap or harass them. I simply like critters sometimes I must admit my curiosity may get me hurt, yet having a healthy respect for them is the best advice.
Buen Camino
Keith
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#15
I actually pinned this same snake species on my walk a couple different times. They are vipers, just small & very aggressive when you trap them. They have no qualm to strike & move aggressively to the threat. If you have no or little experience with snakes do not mess with them & do not flip rocks over with your hands. They will simply move away from you unless you trap or harass them. I simply like critters sometimes I must admit my curiosity may get me hurt, yet having a healthy respect for them is the best advice.
Buen Camino
Keith
Once, years ago while bowhunting in south Texas I witnessed two very large diamondback rattlesnakes wrestling. They were for lack of better terms, standing up and wrestling each other. As they were both to be about 6' long and as big around as my forearm, it was quite impressive, and a bit scary. I couldn't help myself and approached to within a few feet of them. They paid me no mind. I watched for several minutes until they finished, and I backed off. Later I researched it and found out they were two males competing for a female, which no doubt was nearby, but I never saw her. I probably got too close for my own good to them, but it was just so darn amazing to watch.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's (2018)
#16
To the potential Camino walkers out there who are inexperienced walking in nature, or just plain have no interest in encountering a snake (I didn't want to say afraid of), do not be concerned. In all likelihood you will not see a snake while walking the Camino, and if by some chance you do, it ain't gonna mess with you. Just give it wide berth.
Be more concerned with getting blisters or sore knees. :)
Ok, just asking... if I have to answer the call of nature and I'm not talking bird watching or something... do I have to worry about watering or squatting on this thing? Or will it give warning?!
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#17
Ok, just asking... if I have to answer the call of nature and I'm not talking bird watching or something... do I have to worry about watering or squatting on this thing? Or will it give warning?!
The Spanish vipers are not like rattlesnakes - they do not broadcast an audible warning. They much prefer to disappear whenever anyone gets near. The sheer volume of foot traffic along the Camino Frances would deter most of them from hanging around. Where they are occasionally seen is most often in early morning in open ground as they bask in the sun to warm up enough to begin hunting. At that time they may be too sluggish to vanish in time. Their second line of defence is to keep very still and hope you don't notice them. Realistically the chances of you taking one by surprise in the undergrowth are minimal. A routine check for nettles, brambles and other inconveniences before whatever you are planning is always a good idea though :)
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#18
Ok, just asking... if I have to answer the call of nature and I'm not talking bird watching or something... do I have to worry about watering or squatting on this thing? Or will it give warning?!
As said already just use the same common sense approach you would use anywhere. Check the area you are going to take a squat at before you do your business. Not just for the ever so slight possibility of a snake being there, but also for ant mounds, wasp nests, etc or even a not so nice present another pilgrim might have left there before you.
I really doubt there have been any recorded cases of recent pilgrims getting snakebites.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
#19
I have not encountered a live snake in Spain on many Caminos.
I have seen a few smaller dead snakes on roads in Portugal and Spain.

Snakes are not something to be very concerned about.
There are also wild pigs in some areas of the VdlP...but you are not likely to be oinked.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago - May 2017
St Jean Pied d Port to Finisterre - April 2018
#21
Hey folks, could do with a little more reassurance as I am pretty scared of snakes (but equally think they're beautiful!). I am walking Sarria to Santiago early May. Now I have read this post I am assuming that it would be pretty unlikely to meet any on my journey simply due to the amount of foot traffic but possible first thing in the morning. Is this roughly accurate? Thank you!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#22
Any snake on the Camino between Sarria and Santiago in May would be crushed in the rush of pilgrims. Do not concern yourself @Welly, you will not encounter any snakes, except, if you are unlucky, human ones.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#23
You may be right but its close relative Coronella austriaca overlaps with it in the same geographical range and makes a pretty good fit for the original photo: shape of head, dark head markings, two parallel rows of dots along the back, long tapering body. I just came across a reference photo from Wikimedia which looks like a dead ringer for the original wriggly customer.
640px-Smooth_Snake_(Coronella_austriaca)_(7159868749).jpg


https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Smooth_Snake_(Coronella_austriaca)_(7159868749).jpg
 
Last edited:

Jim Miller

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016
#24
While walking down into Molinaseca June of 2016, (about 3 KM's before) saw this snake on the Camino just kind of minding it's own business. Took a picture and moved on my way. I have been trying to figure out what type of snake this is since I've been back and have whittled it down to maybe three different snakes. Can anyone perhaps settle this if you are familiar with "Snakes in Spain" (not to be confused with "Snakes in Planes) for me?
Thank you in advance!!!!! Ed View attachment 31031
Yes there are snakes in Spain, this guys shared our room in Acebo.
 

Attachments

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#26
@Jim Miller It's hard to tell the size from your picture. Your roommate looks pretty small. I hope you evicted him gently - quite harmless but he must have been a surprise to find :) There's a good short Youtube clip of someone holding a Ladder Snake while talking about them which shows that they really are nothing to be afraid of.
 
Last edited:

Jim Miller

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016
#27
So what did you do with it?? Or to it??
It was kind of a funny story. My roomie got up to pee and his foot brushed across "something" on the floor, he turned on the light and saw the critter coiled there. I took the picture then, but kick myself for not taking a video of him using a trekking pole to "escort" the slimy thing out the door and eventually out of the building in his underwear. he immediately got back to sleep while I stayed wide awake listening for the "mate."
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#28
@Jim Miller Great to hear the story had a happy ending. Sadly a lot of people get panicky and kill completely harmless snakes. Just one pedantic note: he would have been dry to the touch - snakes aren't slimy - though I can understand that you might not have wanted to find that out for yourself right there and then :)
 

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