Environment

Native Reptiles Of France

A look at some of France's most notable reptiles, from the Alps to the coasts to the island of Corsica.

France is officially known as the French Republic and is located in Western Europe extending to the North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, the English Channel, and the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. France has a diverse biodiversity which includes a broad range of geographical features which provide natural habitats to indigenous animals including the native reptiles. Below is a look at some of France’s most notable reptiles from the Alps to the coasts and to the Island of Corsica.

Native Reptiles Of France

European Asp

The European viper is found in the southwestern part of Europe including France and is also commonly known as the asp viper, aspic viper or asp. A bite from the European viper can be very painful. The viper grows to a length of 60-65 centimeters with their mature males reaching a total length of 85 cm while the females barely grow to more than 75cm but females are a little thicker than the males. The Viper has a short tail with a broad head whose crown is covered with plenty of different scales that are most times smooth. The Viper requires a warm habitat that is exposed to the sun with structured vegetation and comparatively dried soil. In France, the Viper is mostly found in low hilly mountain areas primarily in limestone regions. Historically the asp viper is said to have been the snake that killed Queen Cleopatra.

Bedriaga's Rock Lizard

The Bedriaga's rock lizard is only found on the Islands of Corsica and Sardinia. The natural habitats for the rock lizard are temperate forests and shrubland, shrubby vegetation, rocky areas, rural gardens rivers, and pastureland. Adult lizards are brownish-grey with a dark lined net pattern on their backs, while the females are brown. Adults in the mating season have blue bellies and blue loins. Adult males grow up to 30 cm, but most don't go beyond 25 cm. The lizard's diet includes small invertebrates and insects, and their biggest threat is habitat loss.

Western Three-Toed Skink

The western Three-Toed Skink is a lizard species that has tiny legs and is found in France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. The natural habitats of the Skink are temperate shrubland and forests, shrubby vegetation, sandy shores, Mediterranean shrubby vegetation, rural gardens, arable land, and pastureland. The Skink superficially resembles a snake apart from two pairs of three-toed limbs. The lizard also has a small head and thick neck that grows to about 43 cm in length and has a smooth, glossy like a body whose head is slightly darker. During mating season the male lizards may fight and even eat each other. The female lizards can produce up to fifteen young ones and can die in the process. The lizard hibernates deep underground during winter and emerges in spring. The lizard has very secretive behaviors as it hides when disturbed. The Skink's greatest threat is agricultural practices leading to habitat loss.

Slow Worm

The slow worm sometimes known as the blind worm is a lizard that has no limbs and is native to Eurasia. The slow worm is a burrowing lizard that spends an enormous amount of its time hiding underneath objects. The slow worm has a smooth skin and scales that do not overlap each other and have the ability to shed off their tail to run from danger. The slow worm's natural habitat is the garden, and it can serve as a pest control. Despite the lizard's uncanny resemblance to the snake, it has some differentiating features such as they have small blinking eyes and visible ears and unlike snakes they shade their skins in patches and have different scale patterns. Adult slow worms can grow up to 50cm long and can live an exceptionally long life. The slow worms are decreasing, and they have been granted a protection status.

Other Reptiles of France

The biodiversity of France allows for the existence of a large number of both flora and fauna. There a total of 10 native reptiles in France. The other six are the European leaf-toed gecko, Hermann's tortoise, Smooth snake, European pond turtle, Viperine water snake and the Montpellier snake.

Native Reptiles of FranceScientific Name
European AspVipera aspis
European Leaf-Toed Gecko
Euleptes europaea
Hermann's Tortoise
Testudo hermanni
Smooth SnakeCoronella austriaca
Bedriaga's Rock Lizard
Archaeolacerta bedriagae
European Pond Turtle
Emys orbicularis
Viperine Water SnakeNatrix maura
Western Three-Toed SkinkChalcides striatus
Montpellier Snake
Malpolon monspessulanus
Slow WormAnguis fragilis

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