Rare images of mating snakes in Barga

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mating grass snakes in barga

This morning we publish some extremely rare images taken by the award winning photographer O’Connor yesterday of a pair of snakes mating in the Parco Kennedy just below Barga Vecchia.

The spring has arrived and this is nature in the raw and taking place just a stone’s throw from the passing cars and people walking their dogs.

A rare enough occurrence but then add to that the fact that O’Connor actually tells us what was going through his mind as he was taking these images. O’Connor speaks!.. whatever next

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This morning I discovered two very large grass snakes entwined on a path just below the castle. They were busy mating after the winter sleep.One was quite aggressively biting the other and both were moving in my general direction. I stood in the path with camera ready and waited. They came towards me completely oblivious of my snooping presence. At one point it was difficult to work out which was which, they were just a writhing mass of snake.

Many local people kill these snakes if they see them – snakes are evil is the often held view here, although that too has gradually changed over the past few years – but they do warn to stay away if snakes are mating as they can be dangerous. Nobody actually knows for what reason but they talk in whispered phrases about so and so in this or that village that was chased and whipped by aggressive snakes and one story continues to do the rounds of somebody remained a midget after being whipped by snakes.

These thoughts did flit through my brain as I stood with legs apart straddled over the path as the snakes came towards the camera. Each one more than a metre long.

On they came, closer and closer and then as I panned down the camera I started to see my own foot in the lens – they were right underneath me, heads raised, fangs showing as one bit the other once again. The one being bitten looked for a hiding place and found it — a nice inviting dark hole – my trouser leg. It put its head in and started to move up.

At that point I lost my cool and jumped a metre into the air and beat a hasty retreat- my own trouser snake retracting in sympathy with the two disgruntled larger (much larger) ones who sped off into the long grass, no doubt the return to their spring business in a quieter, less public place.

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