Non herping trip to Cyprus

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Non herping trip to Cyprus

Postby Paul Lambourne » Mon May 20, 2013 9:06 pm

The last few weeks, I must admit have been very pleasant, I had a splendid trip, with good friends to Corsica and Sardinia (report to follow) and returning home for a day to change pants and restock with tea I headed off to Cyprus.

This was to be a non herping holiday with my long suffering girlfriend...

We visited the world heritage site " Tomb of the Kings" .. basically just some piles of old rock that dead people we stuck in, not particularly interesting to me, my girlfriend did classics and is interested in ancient stuff ( insert own joke) so whilst she clambered about and oooh and arred over buildings that quiet frankly could do with a lick of paint, a sky box and some double glazing, I happened to notice there was an awful lot of Acanthodactylus schreiberi , it seemed rude not to take a few pics..

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I settled down to a few days of laying in the sun, trying not to think of potential herps to see, and the fact that there was only four species on the island that I hadn't seen before.

As luck would have my girlfriend is into ultra marathon running.. this not only keeps her fitter than a gypsy's greyhound, but it means she needs to train regularly.. she approached and asked if I minded her running the next day.. I did my best to look saddened by our time apart ( I get out of breath if I run a bath, let alone four or five hours) and said I could possibly amuse myself the next day.. and so with brownie points banked I contacted a local friend and we arranged to meet the next day..

That evening there was a light shower, Cyrtopodion kotschyi were out in force taking advantage of the abundant insects.

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The next morning I left, trying to not look too excited, and as I was very tight for time, undertook a very whirlwind tour of suitable sites.. sadly I missed the big four wants for the trip Chamaeleo chamaeleon, Vipera lebetina, Coluber nummifer and Cypriot natrix. I did however briefly see but not manage to photograph Coluber cypriensis and found DOR Vipera lebetina and Coluber jugularis.

Here is a selection of some of the stuff I did manage to photograph:

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I returned to the apartment tired but happy that I had seen a fair few species in a short time, I was disappointed that on my third trip to the island I still hadn't seen a blunt nose viper.. however :D later that evening my friend let me know he had been asked to remove a snake from somebodies house, and if I wasn't too busy would I be interested in releasing it into the wild.. I ummed and arred for a nano second and agreed to meet up early the following day... I realised I would be trading on the brownie points I earned previously but it would be worth it..

A few pics of a stunning female that thankfully wasn't immediately killed by locals... sadly most Cypriots kill all snakes on sight regardless of potential danger or rarity.

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Not a bad non herping trip.....time to start planning the next holiday.. Huge thanks to all that helped with site and species info, as ever much appreciated.

Cheers Paul
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Re: Non herping trip to Cyprus

Postby Daniel Kane » Mon May 20, 2013 11:09 pm

Nice!! Shame about the H. cypriensis and three other targets you didn't see/photograph, but I suppose that can always be for another trip! Love those viper shots Paul, good work :) How does their attitude compare to berus?
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Re: Non herping trip to Cyprus

Postby Paul Lambourne » Mon May 20, 2013 11:27 pm

Daniel,

Don't think I have the experience to really comment on attitude as I've only seen one and that was being released back into the wild... However my friend regularly sees them and says they are rather timid vipers, like Berus, aiming to retreat rather than confront. They do hiss very loudly and spread their necks .
The thing that impressed me was the size.. So much bigger than Berus.. Daboia size..
Stunning animals.. I must visit milos ASAP :D

Cheers paul
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Re: Non herping trip to Cyprus

Postby Jürgen Gebhart » Tue May 21, 2013 7:34 am

It looks really like lazy beach days, I expect more, much more Pauli! ;)
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Re: Non herping trip to Cyprus

Postby Christoph Stenger » Tue May 21, 2013 8:30 am

Not too bad for a non-herping trip... :D

Really like the viper!
Cheers

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Re: Non herping trip to Cyprus

Postby Peter Oefinger » Tue May 21, 2013 10:16 am

Very nice - interesting that you found Chalcides ocellatus which is much rarer than Trechylepis vittata on Cyprus...
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Re: Non herping trip to Cyprus

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Tue May 21, 2013 11:21 am

Paul Lambourne wrote:I must visit milos ASAP :D

Not as big, though, those overthere ;)
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