Ladder Snake

It is one of the largest Iberian snakes, circling its length 160 centimeters and sometimes reaching two meters. Its body is thick and strong. Its nose is elongated and pointed, and its head is triangular. Its most characteristic feature is the transverse bands in the style of the rungs of a ladder, which are very marked in young individuals, gradually fading in adults, which, however, develop more longitudinal lateral bands. The belly is yellowish or whitish. It is present throughout the Iberian Peninsula, except in the Cantabrian Coast and Pyrenees, from sea level to 1,800 metres above sea level. It can also be found on the French Mediterranean coast. He likes dry and sunny places, typical of Mediterranean habitats, such as dunes, vineyards and scrub areas. Its copulation takes place during the night, although in late spring it also takes place during the day. In early spring, between May and June, it lays five to twenty-five eggs, elongated, in hollows or buried. By August the eggs hatch, releasing the young about 10 to 25 centimeters long. Lacking venom and inoculating fangs, it swallows its prey alive or strangles them with its powerful musculature. These include chickens, small birds and small mammals that it hunts on the ground, although it also climbs trees to prey on nests. The young feed on insects and little lizards. Hibernates from October until March or April.