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Costa Blanca snakes

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 Carol B 11 Oct 2019

Can anyone identify snakes? At Alcalali today we saw a pair of jet black shiny snakes approx 2 metres long. They were 20 metres up the crag on a route. They were probably the best climbers at Alcalali today. There were also more snakes on other routes up the crag. Now before you hit back saying - pull yourself together  you wuss - I must say in my defence that a group of fit men half my age nearly cracked themselves. My boyfriend wants me to make it clear he didn’t crack himself. So can anyone identify the snakes as Google has not helped.

 Mark Eddy 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Carol B:

Possibly Ladder snakes.

There does seem to be rather a lot of snakes in CB this autumn, had close encounters with half a dozen in the last week! 

 Giles Davis 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Carol B:

Pretty sure they would not be Ladder Snakes. If they were definitely 2-metres then they would be Montpellier Snakes. 

 IPPurewater 11 Oct 2019
 nikoid 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Carol B:

Isn't it more usual to cack yourself?

 David Riley 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Carol B:

I was confronted by a very large Montpellier (I think) at Toix,  doing its best cobra impression.  But seemed more curious than aggressive.  It was olive, certainly not jet black.

 Pyreneenemec 11 Oct 2019
In reply to David Riley:

We've got loads of them around the house; totally harmless ! 

Got to be careful though, last year I came across a viper about a metre off the ground in some brambles. I was picking blackberries ! 

Climbpsyched 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Carol B:

I was on a climb at Alcalali with a group a few years back and shat myself when I realised there was a snake in the crack I was using. It was squashing a gecko which was impressive and I got out of there sharpish. 

 Bob Moulton 11 Oct 2019
In reply to Carol B:

On the first of quite a number of trips to Spain, in the 1994, a snake popped it’s head out of a crack I was about to put my hand in on Via UPSA in the Muscaret Gorge. I’m not sure which of us was more shocked! It shot back into the crack and once I’d recovered I found of way to get past the crack without using it. No idea what sort of snake it was but it was quite small. 

In reply to Carol B:

I was nearly hit by a 2 metre snake at Toix about 3 years ago. It fell off the crag and narrowly missed me - not seen any at Alcalali though. No idea what it was......

 Andy Gamisou 12 Oct 2019
In reply to Carol B:

Sounds like some sort of whip snake to me (a constrictor, harmless).  If it was really black, then don't think it would be a Montpellier.  I see them regularly where I live (Montpellier and whip snakes) along with a fairly venomous variety of viper.  If it was a Montpellier then it would still be fairly harmless as, whilst venomous, it's fangs are positioned well back in it's mouth making it difficult to inject the venom, and the venom isn't supposed to be very toxic to humans anyway.

In reply to Andy Gamisou:

It’s the short fat snakes you need to be careful about (at least in Europe). They are also more likely to sit tight rather than disappearing faster than you can catch them.

Even then the risk is tiny unless you step on one or pick one up.

 Carol B 14 Oct 2019
In reply to Carol B:

Thank you to everyone for your comments. I have come to the conclusion they are Black Whip Snakes.

 Dogwatch 14 Oct 2019

Snake! Snake! Oh it's a snake.


 Dell 15 Oct 2019
In reply to Dogwatch:

Do they have badgers in Spain?  

Or did Franco have them all shot?

 Dogwatch 15 Oct 2019
 bpmclimb 18 Oct 2019
In reply to Carol B:

I was climbing at Bellus in February, I think the route was this La chicharra (6b). As topping out of the steep bit I surprised a sunbathing viper (Den adder, we thought) which slithered over my arm and chest, fast and panicked, to get to the safety of some deep cracks to the right. I didn't let go of the holds and fall, as I hadn't yet clipped the next bolt and was rather run out, but I did emit a yell which Clare told me was completely different in tone form a falling-off yell. I never knew I had a special sort of shout for venomous snakes!  

 Rigid Raider 18 Oct 2019
In reply to Carol B:

I was kloofing (canyoning) in the Magaliesburg north of Jo'burg when the person in front of me grabbed a sapling, which shook and a long black snake fell out just missing her and slithered off. She walked on unawares and the Afrikaaner guide who was behind me laughed and said: "Did you see that? It was a mamba!"

In reply to Rigid Raider:

Yes, my advice about only worrying about short fat snakes when climbing only applies to Europe!  Mambas, boomslang and (quite common) cobra are definitely long and thin. 

Even in South Africa though, it's still the short fat ones that are more likely to sit tight and rely on their camouflage and hence get stepped on.

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