Hierophis viridiflavus feigning death when handled

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Re: Hierophis viridiflavus feigning death when handled

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:47 pm

And could it be that they release it every time they play dead just because they relax all their muscles?

They release it more often than not whenever handled, not only when feigning death. That's why I would
never handle a Natrix natrix with leather gloves - which can not be washed...
As far as I know, the foul smelling secretion is not their excrement, it's a liquid. Smells terribly, and it's
extremely difficult to get rid of the smell, as all of you probably know. Soap doesn't solve the problem,
but lemon does.
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Re: Hierophis viridiflavus feigning death when handled

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:51 pm

Berislav Horvatic wrote:
And could it be that they release it every time they play dead just because they relax all their muscles?

They release it more often than not whenever handled, not only when feigning death. That's why I would
never handle a Natrix natrix with leather gloves - which can not be washed...
As far as I know, the foul smelling secretion is not their excrement, it's a liquid. Smells terribly, and it's
extremely difficult to get rid of the smell, as all of you probably know. Soap doesn't solve the problem,
but lemon does.

Is the foul smell of Dice Snake the same as that of Grass Snake?
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Re: Hierophis viridiflavus feigning death when handled

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:01 pm

Michal Szkudlarek wrote:
Berislav Horvatic wrote:
And could it be that they release it every time they play dead just because they relax all their muscles?

They release it more often than not whenever handled, not only when feigning death. That's why I would
never handle a Natrix natrix with leather gloves - which can not be washed...
As far as I know, the foul smelling secretion is not their excrement, it's a liquid. Smells terribly, and it's
extremely difficult to get rid of the smell, as all of you probably know. Soap doesn't solve the problem,
but lemon does.

Is the foul smell of Dice Snake the same as that of Grass Snake?


Yes, I would say they are pretty identical.
Even if some connoisseurs could say that one is more like Chanel, while the other more like Christian Dior... :lol:
Returning to the viridiflavus, I must say that sometimes also this species releases foul smelling substances...
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Re: Hierophis viridiflavus feigning death when handled

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:04 am

P.s. Small off topic about anal/cloacal secretions in european snakes. Based on my experience.

Natrix natrix and Natrix tessellata: very strong bad odour which lies in between acidic faeces and rotting fish.
Tessellata odour being probably little more "fishy" then the one of Natrix natrix.

Hierophis viridiflavus: very unpleasant odour, less strong than those of the two before and of different nature. Something like rotting faeces.

Elaphe quatuorlineata: unpleasant odour but more tolerable than the three before. Something like pungent acidic faeces mixed with earth and strong unpleasant musk...

Coronella girondica: very unpleasant odour. Not very distant from the ones of the Natrix but less intense and more "musky" than disgusting.

Zamenis longissimus and Zamenis situla: not "perfumes" but rather pleasant odours. Something between musk, earth and hay. Longissimus odour less unpleasant than the one of situla, the latter being a little more acidic. But in general I don't dislike being musked by the two Zamenis... :lol:

Other experiences? :shock:
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Re: Hierophis viridiflavus feigning death when handled

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:34 pm

Ruggero Morimando wrote:Other experiences? :shock:

Not my own, but my friend Ivo Peranić warned me about his unpleasant experiences with Vipera berus
- not regularly, but sometimes they can spray a foul-smelling liquid from their cloaca right into your face.
Something not to be found in field guides, but he ascertains me it does happen. So, take care when making
a close-up photo of an adder, especially from behind... If an adder raises its tail, it's the moment to retreat...
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Re: Hierophis viridiflavus feigning death when handled

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:30 am

And what about Natrix maura?
Forgotten? Yes, but... why?
Its behaviour is probably a little different from the one of its two sisters. Less frequently, in my memories, this species simulates deaths. And foul smelling substances are released at lower amounts too, less frequently and/or are probably less foul smelling...
Have you had the same impressions with this species?

P.s. Once a Natrix tessellata used this behaviour after capture: it crawled with head and neck well raised above the ground and the neck was flattened in a cobra like way. It was an unusual and very "impressive" behaviour.
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Re: Hierophis viridiflavus feigning death when handled

Postby Ilian Velikov » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:36 am

Ruggero Morimando wrote: Once a Natrix tessellata used this behaviour after capture: it crawled with head and neck well raised above the ground and the neck was flattened in a cobra like way. It was an unusual and very "impressive" behaviour.


I have observed this many times in this species usually accompanied by hissing but I never observed death feigning. Here you can't see it very clearly because at the moment of the photo the snake has lowered the neck but you can still see the flattened head.

NT_DStudena_April2009-(15).jpg
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Re: Hierophis viridiflavus feigning death when handled

Postby Mario Schweiger » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:48 pm

now some examples by me ;)
1) young tessellata at the Cetina river, Croatia. 28th Apil, 2006
STA70784_0.22.jpg
put for picture, time: 00:00

STA70784_0.06.jpg
6 seconds later (always from 1st picture)

STA70784_0.09.jpg
9 seconds later (always from 1st picture)

STA70784_0.22.jpg
22 seconds later (always from 1st picture) last picture made
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Re: Hierophis viridiflavus feigning death when handled

Postby Mario Schweiger » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:22 pm

Natrix playing cobra
STA72824.jpg
near Vienna, June 2006

STA72215.jpg
Krk island, June 2006

STA72219.jpg
Krk island, June 2006

and a tessellata from Bacina lakes, Croatia. April 2006
STA70460.jpg


I have seen playing cobra in N. maura many times, but just one time playing death.
The cobra position in tessellata I have seen only a very few times ( maybe 3 or 4x), but it is common in Natrix natrix and N. helvetica.
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Re: Hierophis viridiflavus feigning death when handled

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:08 am

Thanks!
But my tessellata, when I write of cobra-like neck, had many centimeters of the neck region above ground and really flattened like cobras do. Not only a flattened and raised head with 1-2 centimeters of the initial neck region. That's why I wrote it was unusual: it was a very well displayed cobra-like behaviour.
And the snake crawled forward in this position!

And once an Elaphe quaturlineata hissed and flattened the neck and part of the body not like cobras do, but in a vertical way, like "Elaphe" radiata normally does.
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