Israel - In search of the Holy Grail!!

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Israel - In search of the Holy Grail!!

Postby Jürgen Gebhart » Mon May 02, 2011 1:24 pm

After I missed during my Vacation/fieldherping trip in August 2010 the two most important snakes for me, I realized that I have to go back to Israel again soon.
I contact Gabriel Martinez, he made a Trip to Israel in May 2010, and after a few e-mails we decided to make a Trip together in the End of April 2011.
Gabri starts the Trip with his friend Baudilio Rebollo Fernandez on Friday the 22.. They found a lot of stuff and I hope he will post some pics here also.
During our Trip the weather was not the best, Cold Wind and Rain from time to time. During the Day we flip a lot of Stones and Garbage and in the night we were scanning roads by car.
I don`t pictured all Herps we found, but the most.

They pick me up on the Airport on Sunday the 24th at 16.00h and we drove to northeast Israel, Beit She`an area, and after we checked the Hotel room we start with searching.
We found:
Chalcides ocellatus Cylindrical skink
Eryx jaculus Sand boa
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We found just one Snake on the road at night and it was number 2 of my wish list.
Echis coloratus Carpet viper
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On Monday we drove north the Mount Hermon. We found some Herps, also Lacerta media israelica, No. 3 on my wish list. As we try to enter the Area for the Montevipera bornmuelleri the Military stopped us. They told as the area is a restricted area and we have to go otherwise we will get some trouble. So we decided to left the area.
We found:
Mount Hermon:
Trachylepis vittatus Bridled skink
Oophisops elegans ehrenbergii Snake eyed lizard
Malpolon insignitus
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Phoenlicolacerta kulzeri
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Lacerta media israelica
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Cyrcodactylus amictopholis mount Hermon bowfoot gecko
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Beit She`an area
Ablepharus rueppelli Juniper skink
Chalcides ocellatus Cylindrical skink
Hyla savingi
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Pelophylax levantina/bedriagae/ridibundus ????
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Tylops simony Simon worm snake
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Platyceps collaris Red whipsnake
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We found also a Daboia palesetina under a rock, No 1 of my wish list, the holy Grail!!!!
Sadly it was “in blue”.
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On Tuesday we drove to the middle of Israel, Mitze Ramon area, to find Gabri`s No. 1 and my No. 5 on the wish lists Pseudocerates fildii. We stopped at a few Places and found
Trachylepis vittatus Brindle skink
Ablepharus rueppelli Juniper skink
Chalcides ocellatus Cylindrical skink
Mauremys rivulata Caspian turtle
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Pelophylax levantina/bedriagae/ridibundus ????
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Ptyodactylus puiseuxi Israel fanfingered Gecko
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Eirenis rothi Roth`s dwarf racer
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Natrix tessellata Dice snake (The nicest I ever saw)
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Platyceps collaris Red whipsnake
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Hemorrhois nummifer Asian racer
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Stenodactylus sthenodactylus Lichtenstein short fingered Gecko
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At night (17 Degrees) we were scanning a road for Pseudocerastes, but nothing.


On Wednesday we were down south on the red sea coast, in Eilat.
During the Day it was very warm, about 35 Degrees, but less sun. We found a few Herps.
Echis coloratus Carpet viper
Chalcides ocellatus Cylindrical Skink
Spalerosophis diadema Diadem snake
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Crytopodion scaber roughtail Gecko
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Pseudtrapalus sinaitus Sinai Agama
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Uromastyx aegyptius Egyptian Mastigure
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Ptyodactylus hasselquistii Yellow fan-fingered Gecko
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Tropiocolotes nattereri Sand Gecko
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Stenodactylus doriae Middle eastern short-fingered Gecko
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Also we found No. 4 on my wish list, Cerastes gasperetti mendelsoni Arabian horned viper
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On Thursday we were hiking in the Mitzpe Ramon area and in the Crater. We had heavy rain in the morning and the Temperatures drop down to 19 Degrees, after the rain it raise up to 27.
We found:
Stenodactylus sthenodactylus Lichtenstein`s short-fingered Gecko
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Lytorhinchus diadema Crowned leafnose Snake
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Spalerosophis diadema Diadem snake
Acanthodactylus boskianus Bosk`s fring-fingered Lizard
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Laudakia stellio Roughtail rock Agama
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Ptyodactylus gutattus Sinai fan-fingered Gecko
Chalcides ocellatus Cylindrical Skink
Oophisops elegans ehrenbergi Snake eye lizard
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Hemidactylus turicus Mediterranian Gecko

During the night we found four Echis

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Later we drove the road for Pseudocerastes fieldii, but we found “only” two Telescopus hoogstralli. It was 16 Degrees and a cold wind was blowing. Gabri was getting more and more nervous about the Pseudocerastes.
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Friday morning was Tourist-Day. Gabri and Budi want to swim in the Dead Sea, so we visited Ein Gedi. After they take their Bath we visited the Ein Gedi wildlife refuge. Temperature was about 33 Degrees at the Dead Sea. We left the Dead Sea at noon and drove West to Arad. Cold wind was blowing at the late afternoon and the Temperature drop down fast. At 17.00h it was 22 Degrees and when we hit the road for the Pseudocerastes short before sundown at 19.30 h it was 15 Degrees. We drove the Road one time down and up, there was no activity’s, no Geckos, no mammals, nothing. Gabri was very frustrated. We drove the Road again, we saw a few mice, not more. So we drove the Road a third time up, Temperatures was now 13 Degrees and a very strong cold wind was blowing. Suddenly Gabri screamed “a snake, there is one, a snake, a snake, must be a Pseudocerastes” and it was!!! Gabri`s No. 1 and my No. 5 on the wish list.

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We found also during the Day
Eumeces schneideri schneideri Northern Schneider`s Skink
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Chalcides ocellatus Cylindrical Skink
Hemidactylus turicus Mediterrian Gecko
Laudakia stellio Roughtail Agama
Eirenis coronella Crowned dwarf snake
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Tropicolotes nattereri Sandgecko

On Saturday we left Mitzpe Ramon and drove back north to the Tel Aviv area.
We found:
Ablepharus rueppelli Juniper skink
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Platyceps collaris Red Whipsnake
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Typhlops vermicularis Eurasian worm snake
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Chalcides ocellatus Cylindrical Skink
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Trachylepis vittatus Brindle Skink


Eirenis coronella Crowned dwarf snake (Juvenile)
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Hemidactylus turicus Mediterrian Gecko
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Laudakia stellio Roughtail Agama
Stenodactylus sthenodactylus Lichtenstein`s short-fingered Gecko
Ptyodactylus guttatus Sinai fan-fingered Gecko
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We meet Aviad Bar and Guy Haimovich, they both are members of a snake rescue team. Not for commercial, they do it just for protecting the snakes. They get calls for help, they catch snakes in Houses or Backyards and release them in Areas with no Humans. During the week Aviad caught two Daboia`s and after a short fotoshooting we release them together . A very awesome, impressive and exciting moment for me.
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After that we left Guy and Aviad and were scanning some roads but nothing, to cold (14 Degrees). We decided to go the mediterrian Sea and when we arrived the temperature was 19 Degrees. We were walking with Flashlights for Daboia, but found none. At the puddles and pools around we hear some Hyla savinigi calling and we found a Chamaelo.
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Chamaelo chamaelo recticrista European Chamaleon
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After that my two friends brought me back to the Airport and I left Israel at 6.00 a m.

Gabri and Budi Thank you for all!!! Every time any Place I will do a Trip with again
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Jürgen Gebhart
 
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Re: Israel - In search of the Holy Grail!!

Postby Andre Schmid » Mon May 02, 2011 1:29 pm

Really nice trip report ! It looks like you have there a lot of fun and some awesome snake founds ! Congrats and thanks for sharing !
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Re: Israel - In search of the Holy Grail!!

Postby Vlad Cioflec » Mon May 02, 2011 1:39 pm

Looks like you had a blast Jürgen!
All those snake portraits are so beautiful, especially the vipers. By any chance do you have any more pics of the Sand Boa?
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Re: Israel - In search of the Holy Grail!!

Postby Jürgen Gebhart » Mon May 02, 2011 1:57 pm

Yes of course Vlad!
But Sandboas are not good models, good pics are hard to get.
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Re: Israel - In search of the Holy Grail!!

Postby Mourits Løvholt » Mon May 02, 2011 2:08 pm

NICE!!!!!!
Sincerely

Mourits
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Re: Israel - In search of the Holy Grail!!

Postby Jürgen Gebhart » Mon May 02, 2011 3:38 pm

Michael Glass wrote:Overall, I think your trip totally sucked. All the animals you found are ugly, your pictures are total crap, and you should better get another hobby. Don't bother us with this boring stuff...


I`m sorry!!! :cry: I will delate it later the day!!! :cry:
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Re: Israel - In search of the Holy Grail!!

Postby Gabriel Martínez » Mon May 02, 2011 4:07 pm

You describe well the situation with Pseudocerastes. Sometimes miracles happen! The situation was incredible and it´s awesome we find Psedocerastes, Echis, Telescopus... at night in a trip with just 3 snakes road killed where the activity hadn´t begun yet. The trip was a real sucessful, in the herp side, many many species and interesting snakes. In the personal side I have a new good friend ;) and I will make a trip with you indeed (only if you don´t talk about the fu**ing BArca :lol: )

Nothing would have been possible without Guy, Aviad and Amir. I love them! This kind of people are endangered!!!!!!
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Re: Israel - In search of the Holy Grail!!

Postby Paul Lambourne » Mon May 02, 2011 4:11 pm

Great report and stunning photos... Daboia palesetina is a beautiful snake. I think a trip to Israel may be on the cards for me :O)
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Re: Israel - In search of the Holy Grail!!

Postby Peter Oefinger » Mon May 02, 2011 4:56 pm

Thanks for sharing, Jürgen.
Lots of sausages...
But anyhow: extremely impressive! Great work!
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Re: Israel - In search of the Holy Grail!!

Postby Kristian Munkholm » Mon May 02, 2011 5:06 pm

Absolutely astonishing :shock:

If I have half your luck I'll be thrilled ;)

No particular favourites but I love all the "less heralded" snakes, the Telescopus, Eryx, Eirenis, worm snakes,...

Great work!
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