Western Alps


After my very exhausting workseason in the field/lab I needed some holidays with some mountains. Cause it was June, it was for sure not the best time for herping, but well up in the mountains it should still be possible to find some cool critters. My friends Marvin and Sebastian also wanted to have a little trip, so we deciced to go for Walser on the long June weekend of Corpus Christi. After a very long drive on wednesday we arrived on our first stop in southern Germany. After a little morning herping during a thunderstorm and mass of rain we just found some muralis and a fragilis and started our journey to the Piemonte. We planned to stay til sunday on a nice little campingplace on a little lake close to the Lago Maggiore. During the travel to there we saw at least 3 Hierophis beside or on the road (DOR). The weather was quite nice, warm but not hot and so we enjoyed the evening with some beers and first explortation of the closer sourroundings. Our friend and squadmember Jerome went to the same area and found some aspis there, so we tried our luck, but didn't found anything than muralis, salamandra larvae and Anguis veronensis. We went to bed early cause we needed the power to search for our main target!

After driving to the famous Walserspot we were welcomed by a nice little sheepdog, what a good boy! We had quite good conditions for herping during the morning and the nice sorroundings made herping there quite comfortable. But up there, we couldn't find nothing and when I say nothing I mean nothing. At lower altitudes you could find at least some muralis but in the perfect looking habitat for Vipera walser you can't find a single lizard.. Since we knew we where exactly at the right spot we went quite desperate and had to end our search since a thunderstorm started and this could get quite dangerous up there.. We drove back to our campsite and started searching for aspis again, without any succes. We wonder why there was no snake to be found, not even a Hierophis fleeing.. it started raining heavily and so we stopped herping.. and waited for the night to come. During night herping we could find just Salamandra larvae and one Bufo.. very thin result.. The next day was even worse..the only area which had no thunderstorm should be the Ticino plane.. we herped at a suitable spot for many amphibians and snakes, but beside some lizards and one calling Hyla intermedia there were nothing, nothing at all to find..at the evening we herped around the Lagos and the only finds were one fleeing Zamenis and one Coronella. Hard times for herpers..

Last try for our team to find walser on this trip.. Starting early we tried hard to find this snake.. We tried really really hard but nothing. The result of the morning were one Coronella and one Vipera aspis in shed.. Sad and exhausted we drove to Malpensa aiport were I said goodbye to my companions. They had labwork at the next day, while I had some free time to continue the journey by myself. I went to my nice little B&B to think about the next day. I had the choice between another hard day in walserland or searching for francisciredi and having fun in Ticino valleys. I decided to go for fun!

After crossing the border and some morning herping for francisciredi and tessellata without results, I went to a beautiful and famous little bathing spot in Ticino. I enjoyed the warm temperatures at the river and started a big hike to one of my personal herping spots high up. I almost passed out during the hike cause of the high temperatures, but I finally made it. And well herping in Ticino is always working.. found one adult Zamenis and a few Anguis veronensis at this afternoon/evening.

After a night high up in the mountains I started herping very early and was succesful even during this hot hot hot temperatures. I was able to find three asp vipers, one salamandra and a melanistic zamenis in shed. My personal spot is just the best ;).  The afternoon was so hot that I just hiked down to my car, drove to a campsite and chilled there.

I started very early with herping at 7 o' clock with 25 degrees.. I went another time for francisciredi but nothing, just a few orchids.. It was just to hot so I went to a spot in the Bernese alps. Behind the campsite was a little forest with some streams on the north site of the mountain.. can't be that hard to find Salamandra atra there.. Well I was right! Found two atras in half an hour, my first atras! Very happy!

The next day I started around 6am with herping in the mountains for berus and aspis high up in the mountains.. I found again nothing with these high temperatures.. so just enjoyed the most beautiful landscape I can imagine with a lot of orchids and marmots. After that my journey went direction Zurich to visit my godfather. I had a nice evening with him and his wife! Thank you very much Werner and Susanne for the nice stay and the funny time with your pond! ;D

Next destination: Heidelberg! My friend Lennart waited for me so we could herp a little bit and just enjoy some summer photo subjects! After we went to photograph some famous bee eater colony in Rheinland-Pfalz, we went night herping for some aliens. Our target was a huge alien frog - Lithobates catesbeianus. The lake in south Germany were you can find them is very strange. The only animal you hear there are boars and the call of bullfrogs. It seems that there live just alien species. The only things we could find in this lake were invasive species like Lepomis gibbosus and Orconectes limosus. We had to fight with mosquitos and wild boars, but at least we found several larvaes of our target and one big bullfrog! Shortly after we catch the big adult frog we found a Natrix helvetica during its nightly hunt. No wonder that this snake goes nocturnal with this temperatues. After shooting the animals we went back to Lennarts home. At the next day we just enjoyed some time at the bee eater colony and with some bombinas. In the early afternoon I said goodbye to Lennart and his family and started my journey back to Bochum! Thank you Lennart and your family for the nice stay! :)

Amphibia:

Anura:

- Pelophylax esculentus

- Pelophylax lessonae

- Rana dalmatina

- Rana temporaria

- Hyla intermedia

- Bufo bufo

- Bombina variegata

- Lithobates catesbeianus

 

Caudata:

- Salamandra atra

- Salamandra salamandra

- Ichytosaura alpestris

- Lissotriton vulgaris (larvae)

 

Reptilia:

Serpentes:

- Hierophis viridiflavus

- Zamenis longissimus

- Coronella austriaca

- Natrix helvetica

- Vipera aspis

 

Sauria:

- Anguis fragilis

- Anguis veronensis

- Lacerta bilineata

- Podarcis muralis