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melanistic smooth snake

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: Herpetofauna Native to the UK
Forum Name: Smooth Snake
Forum Description: Forum for all issues concerning Coronella austriaca
Printed Date: 07 Apr 2020 at 4:19am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.06 -

Topic: melanistic smooth snake
Posted By: will
Subject: melanistic smooth snake
Date Posted: 26 May 2015 at 9:09pm
Thought I'd share this beauty with you from Dorset, found during a survey with Ben and Stu from ARC Trust on Sunday:

Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 27 May 2015 at 4:42pm
Great find Will, you must be chuffed. Thanks for sharing!

Posted By: will
Date Posted: 27 May 2015 at 5:12pm
thanks Ben, I was most definitely chuffed - as were the ARC guys as I was with.  They had found one on the same site last year, about 150m away, so the question now is whether she is the same one or another individual.  Either way, a lovely animal.

Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 28 May 2015 at 12:02am
Will did they not know if it was the same animal from its scale pattern?


Posted By: Tom Omlette
Date Posted: 28 May 2015 at 12:29am
beautiful! great find will.


Posted By: AGILIS
Date Posted: 28 May 2015 at 6:51am
well copped Will looks like a Aussie black snake spose that because its black, was it from the dense site ?keith


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 28 May 2015 at 8:56am
thanks guys @ Suz - I'm not sure they got close ups of the head first time around, but we certainly photographed every last mm of it this time, including the belly scales which had some predator-related damage on them.  This should help with ID in future.  @Keith - yes, looks far more menacing than your average smoothie.  I'm sworn to secrecy about the location, as you can imagine!

Posted By: will
Date Posted: 28 May 2015 at 9:00am
PS I'll put a few more photos of it on Flickr in the next few days, but here's a link to the photo in high resolution if you want to see it in more detail:

Posted By: arvensis
Date Posted: 02 Jun 2015 at 9:55pm
Nice find. It will be interesting to see if any other melanistic individuals are found at that site.   


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 03 Jun 2015 at 6:13am
yes Mark, the ARC boys will definitely be on the lookout. A melanistic one was found about 140m away from this one last year, but it's not known if this is the same one. I found partly melanistic ones from 2 other sites c.2km from this site, so there might be something in the local gene pool. I just hope that this site doesn't suffer a burn like the ones that we have seen so often this year on our heaths - thereby perhaps resulting in the loss of a unique set of melanistic alleles from the UK smooth snake population...

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