A Flora and Fauna of Symi

A personal guide to the wildlife of Symi and beyond

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Reptiles and Other Animals.

The next report is mainly related to reptiles which are not everyone's cup of tea but nevertheless are an important part of the environment and ecology on Symi. I am just a novice in this field and over the last week I've had the great pleasure and privilage of spending time with Matt Wilson looking for and learning about reptiles and amphibians. His knowledge is extensive particularly when related to the Greek Islands, including a favourite of his, Corfu. He has worked with David Bellamy (an early hero of mine), Lee Durrell and Mark O'Shea, all notable naturalists in their field. Matt's reptile and amphibian blog can be found here and will no doubt include a more comprehensive report of his findings on Symi.  What follows next are some of the animals we found while travelling around Symi over a few nights in August, not the best time of year due to the searing day time temperatures, but still productive especially for me.

Matt Wilson preparing to photograph a snake we found earlier. A cat snake (Telescopus fallax), below, so called as it has vertical cat-like pupils, is Greece's only nocturnal snake and is mildly venomous but is unlikely to be dangerous as its mouth is too small to allow its fangs to be used effectively.

Hunting at night for Ottoman vipers didn't on this occasion produce anything other than an odd lizard. A collection pond here seen completely dry with just the a few bull rushes surrounding it.

Another night and we found this cat snake crossing the road.

There's definitely no shortage of  little owls on Symi and this is just one of many we saw. 

Here we have Symi's only toad, the green toad. Bufo viridis.

Elsewhere I found this turkish gecko lurking in a pot. Hemidactylus turcicus is a favourite of mine.

Sadly one of the biggest predators on snakes, apart from man, are cats. A dead coin-marked snake (Coluber nummifer). The good news is that I've seen plenty of them on Symi.

Hunting at night turns up other animals too.......... A praying mantis.....

And this rather hairy "snout moth" or Pachypasa otus. I wouldn't dream of touching it, nor would a predator, I suspect!

I'll finish on a couple of reptiles found on another day, a tortoise and starred agama. Don't forget to look at Matt Wilson's website for some really good photos.


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