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Wildlife in Italy: Smooth snake

Wildlife in Italy: Smooth snake



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Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Reptiles
Order: Squamata
suborders: Snakes
Family: colubrids
Kind: Coronella
Species: C. austriaca

The smooth snake, or Coronella austriaca, is a snake widespread throughout Italy. He lives in rural areas, woods and clearings.

Distinctive characters

The size of the smooth snake is modest, reaching 50-60 cm in length in adulthood. The basic color is gray with darker spots all over the body. On the head it has a "V" shaped spot which makes it easily recognizable. The ventral region is dark in color, unlike most snakes. The color of the snake makes it particularly suitable for mimicry with the environment it inhabits.
It is not poisonous, it differs from the Vipera aspis for the round pupil, the narrower head and the more tapered body. If caught, it defends itself by biting and releasing a nauseating smell from the anal glands.

Biology

It feeds on small reptiles, eggs, nestlings and small mammals.
It is an ovoviviparous species: the eggs are kept in incubation in the womb of the female and hatch giving birth to already formed babies that do not need parental care.

Smooth snake - Austrian coronella (photo www.naturfoto.cz)

Smooth snake - Austrian coronella (photo Fabio Pupin)

curated by Ivana Stella


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