Coronella austriaca (NL: Gladde slang / EN: Smooth snake / DE: Schlingnatter, Glattnatter / FR: Coronelle lisse) is a harmless colubrid species found in northern and central Europe, but also as far east as northern Iran. Both sexes grow to an average length of about 50 cm. The color pattern consists of a brown, gray of reddish ground color with two rows of small, rather indistinct dark spots running down the back towards the tail. In some cases, each pair of spots may be united towards the neck area, forming a series of cross-bars over the back. There is also a very indistinct series of dark spots running along each of the flanks. These four series of spots that run the length of the body overlay four parallel, rather shadowy stripes that also run down the back and flanks. Dorsally, the head has a somewhat heart-shaped marking that resembles an inverted V posteriorly. This shape is where the name Coronella comes from, which means coronet (a small crown). A relatively thick dark stripe extends from the nostril along the side of the head to a little beyond the neck, only being interrupted by the eye. The upper labials are whitish, grayish-white or light brown, sometimes with darker spots. The tongue is reddish brown or dark red.
Image: Kalmthout (BE) – 04/07/2012
© Johan Dierckx
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