Even in Central Europe you can have the opportunity to meet snakes. Here in the Northern Alps I had a few occasions where I proverbially stumbled upon them during SOTA activations.
During the descent from a SOTA summit suddenly something was aggressively hissing at me. A look down to the path showed that I unfortunately disturbed a snake that was taking a sunbath. There was plenty of space for the snake to escape but instead this aggressive, little beast preferred to not to leave this sunny place and continued hissing at me angrily.
The snake in the photo above is a Vipera berus, or common European viper, a venomous snake but typically the poison isn’t lethal, at least for adults.
The next photo also shows a beautiful exemplar of a Vipera berus. This time the meeting was quite surprising for both parties. On my way up to a SOTA summit I was scrambling up a rocky scarp when I saw a dark long thingy high above my head. In the first moment I thought it would be a rusty old steel rope like it is being often used for a via ferrata. Fortunately, I didn’t grab this long thing but instead pulled myself up using the rock. A look behind this rock didn’t show the expected rusted steel rope but exhibited this beauty:
It was a slightly precarious situation because neither the snake had any space to escape nor I could choose another route: I simply had to climb over the snake. Fortunately, despite the striking distance, this viper kept amazingly calm. The snake even didn’t hiss at me.
The last photo shows a Natrix natrix, ringed snake or grass snake. A harmless and not venomous snake. The snake was just enjoying the meal when I came across and therefore could not escape. I quickly took a photo and went on, in order to not disturb this reptile any further.
73 and HNY Stephan, DM1LE