The ending of the herping season was close, so Lennard Schmid and me decided to go for a last, short and heavy vipertour. Since Lennart knows Slovenia quite well and I had a few nice spots in Croatia our destinations were fixed very fast. At the 9th of september I started from Cologne with the ICE to Mannheim. After a long, long journey Lennart picked me up at the mainstation and we went straight herping. He had a few good spots for amphibians, which involved some very desired species for me. Pelobates and Rana dalmatina is quite hard in my area and so I was very happy to see them finally in high numbers. For the first evening we had a nice number of species. We found Rana temporaria, Rana dalmatina, Epidalea calamita, Pelobates fuscus, Pelophylax cl. esculentus and Pelophylax ridibundus. Since we wanted to start herping at the next morning in Slovenia, we droved through the night and arrived in the early morning.
The morning was great and our first target was Vipera berus berus on top of the famous vipermountain. Our herpingmobile wasn't able to get up the road and since we didn't wanted to miss the good time of the day for snakes we changed our plan and started with searching Vipera ammodytes. After a long search til it was hot with not finding much, Lennart spotted the first snake... a Natrix tessellata (Ooooh Lenni this was a fail) and the happy hour began. Shortly after a young male viper was found by him... but it looked like he wasted his luck for the rest of the trip. After that it went really quick, I found 1 female youngster, 2 big females and one proper male viper, a good start for this trip. After we went a little bit exhausted by the sun and no sleep, we drove to a nice place to cool down and get a little snack. While swimming in a nice, crystal clear river we were able to find some Bombina's and another freshborn tessellata. In the afternoon we wanted to go up the mountain from the front for some more ammodytes and Vipera aspis francisciredi. At the moment we arrived the viper spots it started to rain and the sky looked very dark. We was a little bit worried about not getting down again, so we drove down instantly. Our grade of tiredness was getting dangerous for driving, so we went to a campsite, ate a pizza and went immediately to bed.
The next day started early again and we went to an other beautiful spot for ammodytes. Poorly this spot didn't worked out and so we changed to the spot from yesterday and after Lennart spottet a fleeing colubrid I had luck with a female viper, which escaped the day before. After shooting this nice female we started our journey to Croatia. The destination was Zagreb, where we wanted to find Vipera berus bosniensis. The temperatures were very high and the evening herping results were just Coronella austriaca, Hyla arborea and Bufo bufo. The forest was infested with mosquitos, which ate us alive. After we had enough of feeding the local parasites we called it a day and turned back to our hostel, which was very nice and cheap.
The next day started at 6 o'clock cause the temperatures were already quite high and we wanted to start the search at sunrise. We herped, herped and herped but nothing than a Natrix natrix persa spotted by me. At midday we stopped cause it was just to hot for us (and propably for the vipers). We wanted to go more south and drove to Paklenica. After a very friendly "dobar dan" by our host with some nice liquor (as I am used to it from the croatians :D )we had a little swimming session in the sea til the temperatures got a little bit lower. As we stepped out of the car we found a Testudo hermanni and 5 minutes later a Pseudopus apodus. We spotted several of them, but were never able to get one, shame on us! We tried to find snakes til deep in the night, but we found nothing than an angry croatian guy, which kicked us out of his garden. Before going to bed, we drank some beer and ate a pizza knewing the night would be short, cause we had a rare target for the next day..
Our alarm was set on 5 o'clock and after waking up very slowly, we drove into the hinterlands of Croatia. The nice sunrise was a first little highlight of that day. High up in the mountains the hard, long search for a little snake, the illusive meadow viper (Vipera ursinii ssp.), started. After searching for three hours with nothing, our optimism turned into despair. There are not many species of herps up there, so we didn't even found some lizards. A short break gave me the luck to find the first snake, a Coronella austriaca (not that common up there and not what we wanted). And a few minutes later I found our targetspecies, a young meadow viper, Yiipppiie! Fully worth it. After the 2 days of hard work and little mount of snakes this was very good to cheer up our mood. Since it was too hot in midday and we were to tired, we went back to our hostel in Paklenica, where we started to herp again for some evening and night herps, with almost no succes.
We had a long way back to Germany and so we started our journey after a very short herping session without finding any snakes, but Pseudopus and Algyroides. We had a lot to laugh on our way back, maybe more than normally cause our low level of sleep during this trip. In the evening we arrived Munich where Lennart dropped me out, cause I wanted to visit my best friend at her hometown. The herping didn't stopped at this day at least for me. The next day me and Theresa went to meet up with Laura and Bobby Bok! It was very very nice to meet both and beside a lot of chats we even managed to find 5 adders! What a nice ending for this herping trip. The rest of the weekend Theresa and me spent our time on eating bavarian food, sightseeing and enjoying the sun. Poorly we didn't managed to get a rental car, cause we wanted to do a little trip in the alps. Bad luck, but there will be another opportunity.
Conclusion: It was planned as a pure viper/snake trip. Since it was still hot and dry and we couldn't get to any spot we wanted, we missed Vipera berus bosniensis, Vipera aspis francisciredi and Vipera berus berus in Slovenia. Also we didn't managed to find any mediterrean colubridspecies (just a fleeing Hierophis spotted by Lennart). After all it was a very funny and quite succesfull trip. Thanks you Lennart the trip was a good ending for this years herpingseason (outside of Germany)! Next time no Tessellata for the first snake please ;-). Thank you Theresa and Nadine for the nice time in Munich! And at least thank you very much Laura and Bobby Bok, it was very fun meeting you and I think not the last time herping around Munich.
Vipera ammodytes ammodytes
Vipera ursinii ssp
Vipera berus berus
Hierophis gemoensis (fleeing)
Natrix natrix persa (fleeing)
Pelophylax cl. esculentus