The ladder snake (Rhinechis Scalaris), is also known as the Elaphe Scalaris or Culebra de Scalera in Spanish.
Spring is here and the wildlife is waking up. The flowers are blooming all over Andalucia and my daily walk is ever more joyous. Today was no exception.
My normal route takes me through olive groves, past fields of Asparagus where some poor souls are bent double all day, picking this lovely vegetable. There is also a multitude of freshly planted olive trees; small sprigs now but they will mature and join the billions of other olive trees in the Andalucia area.
Andalucia has a vast array of wildlife, and I am lucky to live high in the hills above Malaga, close to Antequera and an hour from Granada. I see, daily, birds of prey, bats, rabbits and birds of every type. I also come into contact with snakes!
Today, I was lucky to help a Ladder Snake get across the Camino (country road) with a little tap of my walking stick. He was sunning himself in the early morning rays. The trouble was, he was in danger of getting run over by tractors or cars.
About Rhinechis Scalaris or “the Ladder Snake”
The ladder snake is a non-venomous colubrid snake that can be found in southern Europe, specifically in countries like Spain, Portugal, and France. It is a medium-sized snake, typically growing to lengths of up to 1.5 meters. Its name comes from the distinctive ladder-like pattern that runs down the length of its body, which is usually a light brown or greyish colour.
In terms of habitat, the ladder snake is quite versatile and can be found in various environments, from forests and meadows to rocky hillsides and agricultural areas. It is an opportunistic feeder and will consume a wide range of prey, including rodents, birds, lizards, and insects.
While ladder snakes are not venomous, they can be quite aggressive when threatened and will bite if provoked. However, bites from ladder snakes are generally not serious and are rarely fatal to humans. Many people consider the ladder snake to be a harmless and beneficial species, as it helps to control populations of rodents and other small animals.
In terms of conservation status, the ladder snake is currently classified as a species of “least concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, like many other reptiles, it faces threats from habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as from the illegal pet trade.
In conclusion, the ladder snake is a fascinating and unique species that plays an important role in its ecosystem. While it may not be as well-known as some other snake species, it certainly deserves of our respect and admiration.
The featured image at the top of the page shows this handsome creature and why it is called the ladder snake. The markings down his back look just like a ladder. Photo by Benny Trapp