HORSESHOE WHIP snakes are rising in population and size in Mallorca after a large specimen of the invasive species was discovered on a Llucmajor road.
“It was 1.6 metres long and weighed several kilos and was a thick-sized snake,” said Guillem Xavier Pons from the Balearics Natural History Society.
“Usually people find more juvenile snakes that measure up to 70 centimetres,” added Pons.
“This is quite large, but not the largest found in the Balearics where adult specimens of 1.85 metres have been spotted.”
Adults normally reach a size of 1.5 metres and were introduced into the Balearics around two decades ago by way of old olive trees being imported from mainland Spain.
Their natural habitat is shrubby vegetation as well as rocky and sandy shores.
Researcher Elba Montes says that horseshoe whip snakes in the Balearics are larger than their mainland relatives and present worrying issues.
“These species represent a real problem for endemic species such as Iberian Wall Lizards as they eat them and it is a species that is in danger of extinction’, warned Montes.
Control measures have been running for a year where thousands of snakes are caught in traps, especially in Ibiza.
The good news is that the snakes are not dangerous to human beings as they have no venom since they are not vipers, but can still bite.
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