Just when you thought, it is not possible…
A wild surprise awaits. Amidst craziness.
Our favourite green spaces in the larger area we live in see many more people than usual over weekends right now as everybody seems to be newly looking for some nature in these uncertain times.
Walking along the river on a Friday lately was no different.
My inherit longing for wilderness only became stronger at the sight of so much busyness. Just when I was thinking about how much I wished for us to experience at least some wilderness, nature listened and was ready for a big surprise.
For a good start, sand lizards (Acerta agilis, Zauneidechse) appeared now and then speedily crossing our path heading into the thickets. Below you see a male and luckily he was not in a hurry at all and let me talk to him and take pictures for as long as I wanted. Such a little beauty. Can you spot him in the first pic?
Sand lizards are listed as vulnerable on the Red List in Switzerland and are as such protected by law, as are all reptiles here.
Being a zoologist, I train(ed) my senses to detect movement, noises, and shapes in order not to miss any animals around me. Looking for all sizes and forms, I tell you that I am often stirred by pieces of wood, trunks, tree bumps, stones, leaves, you name it. They may all look like a snake, crocodile, monkey, koala, roe deer, hare, whatsoever, believe me. BUT, …
… I also often get lucky :0).
In that case you just hear me say the animal’s name to my hubby, pinpointing to it and staring in the direction of my find.
Nature was in for a wild surprise, indeed, because it was definitely not a branch on the trail that Friday. Nope, IT REALLY WAS A SNAKE. Please, don’t panic. It is a harmless species that moves away fast from wherever people pass.
Lady Bird jumped for joy and still is over the moon :0). It is such a treasured moment for me to see a snake in its natural habitat. What a timing this was. Imagine the luck we had that this snake decided to cross the path in the exact moment we were there. Nature listened and I am deeply grateful. I still can’t believe it.
I hastily took my phone out. Good on me, as we were able to follow her with our eyes when she was going about in the undergrowth of a tree. 15 minutes or so of pure wilderness. I will always hold them close to my heart.
She is a grass snake. Natrix natrix. Nördliche Ringelnatter.
I don’t know whether she is a “she” or a “he”, but “she” comes naturally to me.
And “it” does not work at all.
I love snakes, but they have sadly become very rare in Switzerland. Actually, I wanted to do my Master thesis on snakes almost twenty years ago, but their numbers were too small already. All nine species are listed as either vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. Still, I call myself more than lucky, as I encountered six out of the nine.
So on the said Friday, I was the luckiest Lady Bird on Earth t w i c e. For later on, when taking a side track to follow my very own call of nature, I enjoyed another snake sighting. Yessa :-). Same species but a younger one, she glided into the water and in between the reeds. Spectacular, I tell you. But there are no photos for obvious reasons ;-).
What I can still offer you is a video of the one above. A treat if you ask me. I am still sitting here with a big smile in my face and a very happy heart.
What makes your heart crazily jumping for joy?