During the 2019 Reptiles & Amphibians of Bulgaria Photography Holiday, of the 16, we found 6 species of snakes found in Bulgaria.
The Caspian Whip Snake
(Dolichophis Caspius) can grow up to 200cm in length. They actively hunt their prey which includes small mammals, birds & reptiles & although usually a terrestrial species, they can climb up to around 7m in search of prey. During the tour, we didn’t find any significant adult individuals, only a young one which quite adorable.
(Cornonella Austriaca) grow up to around 70cm in length & feed mainly on lizards. However, they will feed on other snakes & even vipers securing their prey by constriction. They are ovoviviparous, meaning the embryos develop & hatch from the eggs within the female. Up to 9 juveniles are born in late August or September.
The Cat Snake
(Telescopus fallax) can grow up to 100cm & are slender snakes with beautiful markings. They are almost entirely crepuscular or nocturnal & may be found climbing walls or rocky outcrops in search of lizards, with geckos being their primary prey. They are venomous but rarely bite.
(Natrix Tessellata) grow up to 100cm but can be up to 130cm. They are both diurnal & nocturnal feeding mainly on fish. The female will lay between 5 to 37 eggs which will hatch out in August/September. Again we didn’t find an adult but found a couple of juveniles which certainly had the cute factor.
Eastern Montpellier Snakes
(Malpolon Insignitus) grow up to 200cm & are a sturdy, formidable mostly diurnal thermophilous snake. They are a fast predator that actively hunts its prey, which consists of other reptiles, birds or mammals. They are venomous but rear-fanged. We only found a juvenile of this species, but they are far more beautiful with colourful markings along with their large eyes making them adorable.
The Nose-Horned Viper
(Vipera Ammodytes) grows up to around 65cm & are easily recognisable due to the horn on the snout. They are diurnal & also crepuscular with adults feeding mainly on mammals or lizards with the juveniles feeding on arthropods. They are highly venomous with both neurotoxic & cytotoxic components. If disturbed, they will hiss but typically only bite if handled or stepped on.
Photographing snakes can be a challenge as they move fast & have very reflective eyes. But spending time watching them pays off & allows you to capture their beauty. If you are lucky, you can get the tongue flicker too. Snakes are a real favourite subject of mine & furthermore, very rewarding to photograph.