European Wilderness Volunteer DiaryThe Diary of the European Wilderness Society Volunteers

Amphibians, Reptiles and Medieval people

Biff Houlston

Amphibians in Mariapfarr

As the snow began to melt and the signs of spring started to emerge, so did the herps. On one of my walks I found myself around the lake of the Der Outdoorparc Lungau. It was the breeding season of the common toad, Bufo bufo. Thousands (or so it seemed to excited me) of them had gathered to call and find mates. Heaven for a herpetologist and I spent hours marvelling at them all and seeing their eye shine with my torch.

Reptiles in Tamsweg

After finding toads I wanted to find reptiles. With spring well underway and the sun burning brightly in the sky, I set forth to see what I could find. After a bit of walking I found myself in the mountains as you always do when living in the Alps. Tucked in the midst of all the planted pine forest I found a clearing. With a nice mixture of vegetation I thought it a good spot and set about looking for something scaly. It wasn’t long until I found myself in the middle of a small population of healthy common lizards, Zootoca vivipara. With the hot weather they were all scuttling around looking for food or mates. For the first time I was also fortunate enough to catch a pair mating; quite cool if you are a nerd like me. And if you don’t know, mating for common lizards is somewhat violent. The male bites the female around the waste to pin her down… google it 😉

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