Several of Italy’s reptiles are unique to the country’s peninsula and its islands. Italy has an estimated 48 reptile species, ranging from lizards, geckos, snakes, tortoises, and turtles. Most of these species are related to others found in Europe and North Africa.
Native Reptiles Of Italy
Italian Aesculapian Snake (Zamenis lineatus)
The Italian Aesculapian Snake is a snake species in the Colubridae family. It is commonly sighted in central and southern Italy, in regions including Sicily and Romano. It inhabits open and dry shrublands and woodlands, arable land, urban regions, temperate forests, and old buildings. The snake appears yellowish brown, and four dark-brown stripes may be present. The snake is locally known as red-eyed racer due to its red irises. The snake’s diet is made of eggs, lizards, and small mammals. It is oviparous with regards to reproduction. Among its major threats are human persecution, habitat loss, and road mortality.
Sicilian Wall Lizard (Podarcis wagleriana)
The Sicilian Wall Lizard is only found in the Sicily and Aegadian Islands. It is classified in the Lacertidae family of lizards. The lizard appears green and olive or brownish in some females. A brown stripe or a network of dots runs along the lizard’s spine, and there is a striking yellow or white dorsolateral stripe. The animal’s underparts are white and are tinged with red, orange, or pink in males during the breeding season. The animal’s habitats range from arable land, woodland, scrubland, and rural eggs. The lizard’s population is large since it is tolerant of a variety of habitats.
Riccioli’s Snake (Coronella girondica)
The Riccioli’s Snake is classified in the Colubridae family, and it is indigenous to Italy. Its habitats range from arable land, rocky regions, grasslands, woodlands, and temperate forests. The snake’s coat appears brown or gray with black or dark brown spots. A dark streak extends from the mouth’s corner to the eye, and it has smooth dorsal scales. The female between 1 to 16 eggs and breeding occurs in late spring. Its diet is made up of smaller snakes and rodents, and lizards. The snake is not poisonous, and it is largely secretive in nature. The Riccioli’s Snake is listed as least concern.
Spur-Thighed Tortoise (Testudo graeca)
The Spur-Thighed Tortoise is a tortoise subspecies of the larger Mediterranean tortoise. It appears yellow, orange, black, or brown and has small spurs on its thighs. The tortoise has numerous subspecies. It has large and coarse scales on the front legs and its spinal plates appear widely stretched. The tortoise inhabits shrublands, woodlands, and barren hillsides and it feeds on grasses and plants. It is listed as vulnerable, and it is threatened by the pet trade as well as habitat loss and degradation.
Other Native Reptiles of Italy
The rest of Italy’s reptiles are Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard (Podarcis tiliguerta), Sicilian Pond Turtle (Emys trinacris), Moorish wall gecko (Tarentola mauritanica), Ursini;s Viper (Vipera ursinii), Marginated Tortoise (Testudo marginata), and Bedriaga’s Rock Lizard. The major threats to reptiles in Italy are pollution and habitat loss.