The rarest reptile in Finland

Norway, Sweden, Finland, Baltic Republics

The rarest reptile in Finland

Postby Tom Hoogesteger » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:17 am

Let me introduce you my ultimate highlight of the year 2009.
The 27th of June I was lucky to find something very few people have ever seen: a Finnish Coronella austriaca!
In Finland the smooth snake is known to exist only on the islands of Åland, between Finland and Sweden. The only thing known about the species on the island is that they do exist, but in very low numbers. One can spend months or years on the island and see hundreds of adders and grass snakes without seeing a single Coronella austriaca.

This summer I spent one and a half months in Åland doing (non-herp-related) biological fieldwork, and of course I inspected every promising-looking Coronella-habitat always when I got a chance. One day I suddenly saw this beautiful snake in front of my eyes.




After I found this snake I visited the same site many times in hope of finding the same or another individual, but with no luck.
Tom Hoogesteger
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country: Finland

Re: The rarest reptile in Finland

Postby Vlad Cioflec » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:26 am

Congratulations Tom! :mrgreen:
Coronella is a pretty little snake indeed, and it`s always a treat to find one.
Come to think of it, i only found 7 live ones myself...

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Vlad Cioflec
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Re: The rarest reptile in Finland

Postby Jürgen Gebhart » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:04 am

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Jürgen Gebhart
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Re: The rarest reptile in Finland

Postby Kristian Munkholm » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:31 am

Cool find, congratulations.

Sadly, they are now considered extirpated from Denmark where the last documented find is from 1914. There have been several rumors and "interesting" sightings since but the only ones that seem to have any credibility are from 1979 and 1980. They are the wet dream of every Danish herpetologist many of whom believe they may indeed still be here but I must say that with the limited area of suitable habitat and the hours of searching being invested by competent people it is becoming increasingly hard to keep up hope.

I was on Öland this summer hoping to find one, but alas the weather was not in my favour and family obligations allowed me only a couple of hours to search, so no luck.

Next year...
Kristian Munkholm
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