top of page
  • Kevin Esser

Portugal again, part II

A little off the coast you will find some cork oak forests with stone walls. This beautiful landscape is a precious habitat for reptiles. During our first trip in this region back in November 2020, we found an impressive Montpellier Snake. This time we discovered another snake species, which we had not seen before: a stunning Red-eyed Grass Snake (Natrix astreptophora).


Cork oak forest

Natrix astreptophora - Red-eyed Grass Snake
Natrix astreptophora - Red-eyed Grass Snake
Natrix astreptophora - Red-eyed Grass Snake

Near a pond we also saw some amphibians. Besides the abundant water frog we were happy about the sighting of Natterjack Toad (Epidalea calamita). The Algerian Sand Racer (Psammodromus algirus) is common in the Algarve, but most of the time it is very difficult to photograph this shy and fast lizard. Also common but slightly less shy is the Moorish Gecko (Tarentola mauritanica), we saw some of them basking on the rocks.


Pelophylax perezi - Iberian Waterfrog
Pelophylax perezi - Iberian Waterfrog
Epidalea calamita - Natterjack Toad
Epidalea calamita - Natterjack Toad
Epidalea calamita - Natterjack Toad

Psammodromus algirus - Algerian Sand Racer
Psammodromus algirus - Algerian Sand Racer
Algerian Sand Racer
...after sneaking up in slow motion

Tarentola mauritanica - Moorish Gecko
Tarentola mauritanica - Moorish Gecko


When it was very rainy again, we obviously looked for amphibians again. On the way to the fire salamander habitat, where we had been very successful last time, we already met the first animals on the road. We brought them to safety and took a few quick photos of some of them, before we arrived at the actual destination. Not surprisingly, the Fire Salamanders were also active and we saw several specimens.


Bufo spinosus -  Spiny Toad
Bufo spinosus - Spiny Toad
Pleurodeles waltl - Sharp-ribbed Newt
Pleurodeles waltl - Sharp-ribbed Newt
Discoglossus galganoi - Iberian Painted Frog
Discoglossus galganoi - Iberian Painted Frog
Discoglossus galganoi - Iberian Painted Frog

Salamandra s. crespoi - Fire Salamander
Salamandra s. crespoi - Fire Salamander
Salamandra s. crespoi - Fire Salamander

Salamandra s. crespoi - Fire Salamander

Beach excursions and reptile searching continued to alternate, though the weather was not always particularly good for either. Besides some sunny sections, we had to deal with a lot of wind and rain. Nevertheless, we still had a nice and quite successful time. The discovery of a Ladder Snake (Zamenis scalaris) and a young Ocellated Lizard (Timon lepidus) surely were the highlights of our last days in Portugal. Also we found our first Mediterranean Tree Frog (Hyla meridionalis) and a really pretty Southern Smooth Snake (Coronella girondica).



Larus argentatus - European Herring Gull
Larus argentatus - European Herring Gull
Blanus cinereus - Iberian Worm Lizard
Blanus cinereus - Iberian Worm Lizard
Coronella girondica -  Southern Smooth Snake
Coronella girondica - Southern Smooth Snake
Mauremys leprosa - Mediterranean Pond Turtle
Mauremys leprosa - Mediterranean Pond Turtle
Mauremys leprosa - Mediterranean Pond Turtle

Spatula clypeata - Northern Shoveler
Spatula clypeata - Northern Shoveler
Praia

Hyla meridionalis - Mediterranean Tree Frog
Hyla meridionalis - Mediterranean Tree Frog

Timon lepidus - Ocellated Lizard
Timon lepidus - Ocellated Lizard
Zamenis scalaris - Ladder Snake
Zamenis scalaris - Ladder Snake
Goodbye Portugal, see you soon!





bottom of page