Montpellier Snake France



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Montpellier Snake

Malpolon monspessulanus

    Couleuvre de Montpellier   

(Syn.Française Couleuvre Maillée)


Montpellier snakes can attain a length of more than 2 metres and have a menacing and ferocious appearance. They have large eyes with round pupils surrounded by clearly visible rims. They have a thick body which in adults is a dark grey/green, underside lighter and often yellowish with darker marks.

They are the only venomous Couleuvre to be found in France, but as its venom fangs are set at the back of the mouth it is unlikely to cause problems for humans. In the unlikely event of being bitten the result would be extremely painful but not dangerous for most individuals. A bite will result in stiffness and swelling where bitten and a state of general lethargy and weakness, this would normally last a day or two but BE SAFE - GET MEDICAL ATTENTION.


Photo. Montpellier snake, Maplon monspessulanus, France

Montpellier snakes are only to found in France in the Mediterranean region where they normally spend their time on the ground in hot arid areas with some shrubby low growth for cover. They can be seen on rocks, stone walls, vineyards, open woodland or by the side of rivers. Their diet is mostly lizards, but they also eat small mammals up to the size of rabbits, killing by venom.

Photo. Montpellier snake, Ardeche, France
Photo.Montpellier snake juvenile.Malpolon-monspessulanus.France.

They are generally discrete and fearful and dislike water, however when provoked they become very aggressive, inflating their neck, often rising up like a cobra, hissing loudly and invariably trying to bite. Hibernation takes place from October/November until March.

Coupling takes place in April/May and 8 weeks later up to 20 eggs are produced which take about 50 days to incubate.


Population: in decline







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