Advice about Macrovipera - Cyprus

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Advice about Macrovipera - Cyprus

Postby Yannick Francioli » Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:58 pm

Hi everyone,
I'm going to Cyprus from the 15th of October to the 22nd, and I have one big target there, the mighty Macrovipera lebetina of course.
As I know it's not the best season, I'd like to ask for some advice to find them.
These are the pieces of info I could grab so far:
-They like to be around water, ponds, streams and rivers are good spots.
-Road cruising at night is probably the best way to find them in this season.
-Even in the middle of the day when it's very hot, they can be found laying in tall grass and low bushes.

I will stay in Paphos and mount Troodos area, from what I read they practically anywhere in those regions, however if some of you agree to send me a few specific locations by mp, I would be extremely grateful :D

And finally some questions:
1) Is it worth it to go searching very early in the morning for those vipers?
2) I saw that there are quite a few artificial lakes, do you think those are good spots as well? since they like to be near water...
3) How is the nature protection there? What do I risk if I catch a snake ?

That's it for now, please add any advice you think might be helpful. Thanks a lot!
Yannick Francioli
 
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Re: Advice about Macrovipera - Cyprus

Postby Nils Kooijman » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:03 pm

Hi Yannick,

I don't have specifics for Cyprus, but in general:

1) Once rays of light starts hitting the habitat that's probably a good time to go looking
2) Artificial lakes are in my experience no good. They're usually fully cemented/concrete, thus do not provide any moist for the environment. Furthermore, in October they will most likely be half empty (or half full if you're an optimist).
3) As far as I'm aware Cyprus has no officious protection programmes for snakes and many vipers are killed and persecuted with no repercussions. Please be aware of the fact that the Macrovipera lebetina is highly endangered on Cyprus.
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Re: Advice about Macrovipera - Cyprus

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Sat Oct 01, 2016 6:32 am

Nils Kooijman wrote:Please be aware of the fact that the Macrovipera lebetina is highly endangered on Cyprus.

Really? Not the first impression you get from trip report from overthere.
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Re: Advice about Macrovipera - Cyprus

Postby Andre Schmid » Sat Oct 01, 2016 7:58 am

We found most of them in high grass, so its quite dangerous because they have an awesome camouflage. So check high grass areas like this stone walls (picture below) and watch for your foot steps.

I think for vipers the early morning is allways good time to search (if the night cool down).

I think you get problems with 98% of cypriots if you find a viper and dont kill them. Most people hate this beautiful creatures. We meet one farmer back in 2012 that tells us that he dont kill any animal in his area...in this area we found 2 or 3 vipers in stone walls and high grass...

So good luck an watch for your steps.

lebetina-habi.jpg
Habitat, stone walls covered with high grass


lebetina.jpg
Viper found there
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Re: Advice about Macrovipera - Cyprus

Postby Nils Kooijman » Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:02 am

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:
Nils Kooijman wrote:Please be aware of the fact that the Macrovipera lebetina is highly endangered on Cyprus.

Really? Not the first impression you get from trip report from overthere.


Well I've read and heard from several sources it's endangered, but, 'highly' may have been an overstatement ;)
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Re: Advice about Macrovipera - Cyprus

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:19 am

What sources? I guess only few people (if any) would have data and knowledge to rightfully make such statement.
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Re: Advice about Macrovipera - Cyprus

Postby Frédéric Seyffarth » Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:53 am

Actually it is "Endangered", but i know that in 1996, it was "Critically endangered".
Small distribution and decline of the population in nineties probably justify this status.
Collecting and road kills are the main treats but i think that destruction of habitats is to be take into consideration too :-(.
Like in so many parts of Europe...
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Re: Advice about Macrovipera - Cyprus

Postby Yannick Francioli » Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:21 pm

Thanks a lot for your replies and advices everyone! I also ordered Reptile and amphbian of Cyprus, with your advices and this book I should have all the info I need to find one of these beauty.
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Re: Advice about Macrovipera - Cyprus

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:05 pm

Frédéric Seyffarth wrote:Actually it is "Endangered", but i know that in 1996, it was "Critically endangered".
Small distribution and decline of the population in nineties probably justify this status.
Collecting and road kills are the main treats but i think that destruction of habitats is to be take into consideration too :-(.
Like in so many parts of Europe...

Source?
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Re: Advice about Macrovipera - Cyprus

Postby Frédéric Seyffarth » Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:39 pm

IUCN...
http://www.iucnredlist.org/search
Looking on Macrovipera schweizeri.
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