Some pictures from the Cres-Lošinj archipelago

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Re: Some pictures from the Cres-Lošinj archipelago

Postby Ilian Velikov » Sun May 21, 2017 2:53 pm

Ruggero Morimando wrote:Ilian Velikov wrote:
Michal Szkudlarek wrote:
it is otherwise regarding toads, toads cannot jump high so if they manage to cross a road they have problem with curbs

True, but not all roads have curbs, not all toads cross roads and from those that do not all die. In fact plenty of them survive, and the fact that the common toad is one of the widest spread European amphibians and still quite "common" is a proof that road traffic is not such a problem for them in the bigger picture.


So, why are present in more culturally evoluted Countries people who make tunnels under roads for toads passage? Just in order to waste public or private money?


Obviously to help the local toad population. But this toad population is still there not because of this but because there's suitable habitat left between those roads for them to live, breed, feed in. Take this away and you can put as many tunnels as you want, there will be no toads to use them. Not to mention that amphibians in particular mostly get killed on roads in a very narrow (a couple of weeks maybe) window in the year when they migrate to their breeding grounds. The rest of the year there's no dead toads on the road. The discussion here was whether road traffic is the main threat to the survival of a species in a particular area not if it affects it at all. Obviously it does, but to what extend? In Bulgaria nobody builds tunnels for toads and in spring I see lots of them killed on the road which can be a disturbing sight because you see a dead toad every few meters on a stretch of road but in fact they are a small fraction of the thousands that made it to the other side, and despite the roads Bulgarian toads are thriving.

P.S. And BTW the building of tunnels in those countries you mentioned by itself is a proof of what I'm saying because countries only start building those if the populations of whatever they are trying to save is already under severe pressure because those same countries have destroyed or fragmented most of the habitat in which these animals used to live.
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Re: Some pictures from the Cres-Lošinj archipelago

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Sun May 21, 2017 2:55 pm

Ok Ilian. The solution.

It's not said that a solution must exist.
But the solution, for instance in Cres, could be the following:

- educate people and tourists about the existence of reptiles, their importance, and the fact that they can cross roads or stay on roads;
- put signals at the sides of the roads which say clearly "write slowly, reptiles can be over the road!";
- educate people to drive not like crazy (in Cres, on the main road, you can meet cars that are driven at speed around 150 km/hour!) - and this will be useful also to save many human lives;
- build walls which separate highly trafficked roads from natural habitats (this is already done on part of the main road in Cres, very probably not for reptiles, but, I suppose, for sheeps... :?: );
- avoiding opening new roads only for business reasons without taking in consideration the impact on local minor fauna.

Enough? :lol:
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Re: Some pictures from the Cres-Lošinj archipelago

Postby Ilian Velikov » Sun May 21, 2017 3:05 pm

Ruggero Morimando wrote:Ok Ilian. The solution.

It's not said that a solution must exist.
But the solution, for instance in Cres, could be the following:

- educate people and tourists about the existence of reptiles, their importance, and the fact that they can cross roads or stay on roads;
- put signals at the sides of the roads which say clearly "write slowly, reptiles can be over the road!";
- educate people to drive not like crazy (in Cres, on the main road, you can meet cars that are driven at speed around 150 km/hour!) - and this will be useful also to save many human lives;
- build walls which separate highly trafficked roads from natural habitats (this is already done on part of the main road in Cres, very probably not for reptiles, but, I suppose, for sheeps... );
- avoiding opening new roads only for business reasons without taking in consideration the impact on local minor fauna.

Enough?


Ruggero, I meant a real plausible solution, not an idealistic one. If you ask me the best thing that could happen to this planet and all life on it which would solve all conservation issues is if we went back to living off the land as hunter-gatherers. ;)

The solutions you gave are next to impossible. You can't teach people all those things not the least because most of them don't want or think it is necessary to learn about this, and you definitely can't stop people building roads for whatever reason.

So, no. Not enough I'm afraid. You have anything else?
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Re: Some pictures from the Cres-Lošinj archipelago

Postby Mario Schweiger » Sun May 21, 2017 3:06 pm

Ruggero Morimando wrote:- build walls which separate highly trafficked roads from natural habitats (this is already done on part of the main road in Cres, very probably not for reptiles, but, I suppose, for sheeps... :?: );
:lol:


here, antother problem starts! animals - any kind not able to fly, are captured on the road and have problems to leave it for hundreds of meters. Observed a hermanni walking along north of town Cres.

and what also should be kept in mind: I have overrun a handful of snakes by accident. Just saw them in the last moment, sitting/basking at the edge of the road - and these crazy animals started to the road, and not to the meadow/bushes. Are they attracted by the cars shadow?
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Re: Some pictures from the Cres-Lošinj archipelago

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Sun May 21, 2017 3:19 pm

Mario Schweiger wrote:
Ruggero Morimando wrote:- build walls which separate highly trafficked roads from natural habitats (this is already done on part of the main road in Cres, very probably not for reptiles, but, I suppose, for sheeps... :?: );
:lol:


here, antother problem starts! animals - any kind not able to fly, are captured on the road and have problems to leave it for hundreds of meters. Observed a hermanni walking along north of town Cres.

and what also should be kept in mind: I have overrun a handful of snakes by accident. Just saw them in the last moment, sitting/basking at the edge of the road - and these crazy animals started to the road, and not to the meadow/bushes. Are they attracted by the cars shadow?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8GVL7xGINc :shock:
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Re: Some pictures from the Cres-Lošinj archipelago

Postby Ilian Velikov » Sun May 21, 2017 3:28 pm

Mario Schweiger wrote:here, antother problem starts! animals - any kind not able to fly, are captured on the road and have problems to leave it for hundreds of meters. Observed a hermanni walking along north of town Cres.

Exactly! So this is one "solution" that does not really work that well. Obviously the point is not to save every single animal but to minimize the impact on the overall population. But even then, what are the chances that we'll ever have those barriers on the entire length of every single road we build? I'd say it's about the same as teaching snakes to fly over the road.

Mario Schweiger wrote:and what also should be kept in mind: I have overrun a handful of snakes by accident. Just saw them in the last moment, sitting/basking at the edge of the road - and these crazy animals started to the road, and not to the meadow/bushes. Are they attracted by the cars shadow?

That's a very good point and also where I was trying to take the conversation to with my "road repellent" question. I think we should start with learning what is it that attracts snakes so much to roads (because a lot of them just go there to stay there, not just to cross). Thermo-regulation? I don't think so...Snakes go out on roads even in places where there's miles of suitable habitat where they could efficiently thermo-regulate. So what is it then? It's a very hot (in summer), barren place with no food or shelter...So why snakes like to go there? I think once we have an answer to this question maybe we can come up with a way to keep them away from the roads.
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Re: Some pictures from the Cres-Lošinj archipelago

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Sun May 21, 2017 8:19 pm

I think the most common reason for which snakes cross roads is the simplest of all, and it's the reason why all animals, included humans, must cross roads during the course of their life (if they live where roads are present): because roads cut their territory and must be crossed by individuals, if they want or need to continue in a determinate direction.

I have the sensation that, when a snake reaches a road, it has the feeling of something "strange" and new: I have for instance spotted Malpolon wait at the edge of a road with elevated head to control what was happening on that flat surface devoid of rocks or vegetation. :lol:
And snakes cannot certain understand and think: "Oh, my God, it's a road. Danger: I must crawl back now!" They continue in their direction and cross the road, often very fast. I've seen many species crossing the roads fast during the day: Hierophis viridiflavus, Malpolon sp., Elaphe quatuorlineata, Natrix natrix, Zamenis longissimus, Zamenis situla, Ptyas mucosa, Zaocys korros and probably others.
And I've also seen species crossing roads in a fast way during nightime: Vipera aspis, Vipera ammodytes, Coronella girondica (fast as it can be) and probably others.
And, on my experience, if a snake sees a vehicle approaching when it's beginning to cross a road, it normally reverses direction at once and disappears from where it came from.

But then we all know that many specimens of many species can cross the roads very slowly or even stay over them, in a more or less "elongated" or "en accordeon" way. But also in this case nothing strange happens.
Snakes rest on a road exactly in the same way as they can rest over other natural surfaces: over the leaf litter of a wood, over a field, over a stone field or over rocks.
I've seen snakes resting on roads during daytime (Z.situla and longissimus, E.quatuorlineata, Hierophis sp., Malpolon sp., Vipera sp., Coronella sp., Natrix tessellata, Natrix maura and others) and during nightime (Coronella girondica, Z.longissimus and situla, Telescopus fallax, Trimeresurus sp., Boiga sp.).

I would say that, mainly at our latitudes, resting in an elongated posture over a road can be a way of thermoregulating. Probably the sensation, in the early morning hours or in the evening hours, of the warm and smooth asphalt under the belly is not a bad sensation for a snake, which is used to more uncomfortable materials and type of belly contacts.
In this way we can explain why many species, especially the calmer ones (Zamenis sp.), tend to rest in "en accordeon" way over the asphalt: while slowly crossing a road, they feel very comfortable over the asphalt! And doing this they rely "naively" upon their camouflage as they would do (and I've seen they do!) in a wood or in a field, remaining totally motionless when a vehicle approaches them. :o

And then, over the roads, snakes can do all the activities they normally do "in the woods". I've seen e.g. snakes mating and/or fighting on the road (H.viridiflavus) and snakes hunting frogs on the road (Natrix natrix and Bungarus andamanensis).

Paradoxically in some tropical rainforest regions, which are clearly full of snake species and individuals, it's sometimes very difficult to see snakes crossing roads during the day. This is probably due to the very high temperatures and the absence of the need to termoregulate over an exposed surface. So, when I travelled by car for many chilometers in Borneo to reach the Danum Valley over a dirty road, I couldn't see any snake. And in the asphalted and rather trafficked roads of Borneo I met only one or two roadkilled snakes in hundreds of chilometers.
Same disappointing experience I had in India, where travelling by car during nighttime for many chilometers among perfect snake habitats did not give any positive result.
But: during heavy rainfalls, the roads in the tropics can become a paradise for snake fans during nighttime. We experienced this fact many nights in the Andamans, where, during rainfalls, we found really many snakes, included Bungarus which were feeding upon (probably dead) frogs over the roads.
Why so many snakes on the roads during night rainfalls?
Probably (I think) for more than a reason: presence of many preys on the roads (frogs); flooding of normal sites and dens of snakes; decrease of the otherwise too hot temperatures.

So: this is my experience and my thoughts about the problem "snakes and roads" :lol:
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Re: Some pictures from the Cres-Lošinj archipelago

Postby Ilian Velikov » Sun May 21, 2017 9:50 pm

Thanks Ruggero for sharing your experience! So nothing new here - it all depends on the environment, species and so on, there's no universal attractant of snakes to roads. And from what I read looks like there's no environmentally safe snake repellent either so....I guess snakes would just have to deal with it :?
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Re: Some pictures from the Cres-Lošinj archipelago

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Mon May 22, 2017 11:57 am

Thanks to you Ilian, who made possible this interesting confrontation! :D

But, if you really think I'm an idealist and a dreamer, watch please this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B04q6ABPV8A

...and try to use "Google Images" and search with the key-words "snake crossing". You will see that the road signals I want to introduce exist already and are not a crazy idea of an italian herper... :lol: ;)

http://www.torontozoo.com/adoptapond/sn ... .asp?opx=2
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Re: Some pictures from the Cres-Lošinj archipelago

Postby Ilian Velikov » Mon May 22, 2017 7:37 pm

Ruggero Morimando wrote:...and try to use "Google Images" and search with the key-words "snake crossing". You will see that the road signals I want to introduce exist already and are not a crazy idea of an italian herper...

No, I didn't mean that. I know such signs exist and it's a nice idea by itself but the difficult part is to make people actually give a damn about them.
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