Yellow-bellied snake is a genus of snakes belonging to the family of slender snakes. In Russia, there are 5 species of yellow-bellied snakes.
These snakes crawl quickly, they have graceful bodies with relatively long tails. The head of the yellow-bellied snake is clearly limited from the body. He has large eyes with round pupils. During hunting, these snakes are helped by lightning speed, excellent vision and excellent response.Caspian snake (Dolichophis caspius).
Yellow-bellied snake - the largest snake in Europe
In length, representatives of the species grow up to 2 meters, but some individuals can exceed 2.5 meters.
With such dimensions, the length of the tail is about a third of the length of the whole body. In this case, the body diameter of the largest yellow-bellied snakes does not exceed 5 centimeters. That is, even large specimens look elegant.
Big eyes are not covered by shields. Scales on the back without ribs. The upper body is solid in color: brown, olive gray, red or almost black. At the same time, some scales are lighter at the edges, and some in the center, due to which a fine-mesh pattern is created. The lower part of the body is most often also monophonic, yellow.
Young individuals have 1-2 rows of dark spots passing along a brown or gray background. In some places, spots merge with each other, forming transverse stripes. There are also a number of spots on the sides, but smaller ones. On the head, a regular pattern of spots is formed. The belly of young runners is grayish-white with yellowish or reddish spots.Young individuals have 1-2 rows of dark spots passing along a brown or gray background.
Where does yellow-bellied snake live?
These snakes are common in the Caucasus, Asia Minor, the Balkan Peninsula, southern Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Moldova. In our country, they live in the Ciscaucasia and the Lower Volga region.
The habitat of yellow-bellied snakes is open dry places. They live in deserts, semi-deserts, steppes, on mountain slopes, among rocks and in sparse forests. In the mountains, they can rise to a height of 2000 meters. Often they crawl into orchards, vineyards, the ruins of old buildings and haystacks. In addition, these snakes are found along the banks of rivers, but they do not swim, but hunt in coastal thickets.
Like other snake species that live in similar biotopes, yellow-bellied snakes find shelter among stones, dense bushes, in rodent burrows and in tree hollows. These snakes are attached to their shelters, so they regularly return to them even when they are moving a long distance.
In winter, yellow-bellied snakes spend in burrowing rodents and other shelters. Often in one place of wintering there may be several individuals.In our country, snakes live in the Ciscaucasia and the Lower Volga region.
Representatives of the species are aggressive. Some people say that yellow-bellied snakes pursued them. Of course, these snakes do not hunt people and do not specifically track them, but when a person is a threat to the snake, he is the first to attack, while opening his mouth wide and emitting a loud hiss, frightening the enemy. During the attack, the snake can throw towards the offender at a distance of about a meter, trying to bite for the most vulnerable spot. These snakes can inflict serious wounds with their bites. The aggressive temper of yellow-bellied snakes makes even large animals such as horses run away. The evil character is characteristic not only of large adult individuals, but even of young animals.
The population of these snakes is not numerous, but this species is not rare. During the day excursion you can find several yellow-bellied snakes. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the population was much larger, so in the South Russian steppes these snakes were found more often than other brethren.The population of these snakes is not numerous, but this species is not rare.
Representatives of the species crawl very quickly. When a cliff occurs on the path of a yellow-bellied snake running away from danger, he deftly jumps into it. In addition, these snakes can climb trees well, but try not to climb high. Activity is shown in the daytime.
What do yellow-bellied snouts eat?
During the hunt, the yellow-bellied snake vigorously pursues the victim. Often they get their prey directly from the holes. Yellow-bellied snakes prey on a variety of vertebrates on the surface of the earth and in burrows, lizards of various species, small birds, rodents and snakes. Sometimes they ruin bird masonry on trees, but most often on the ground. Snakes can hunt poisonous snakes, for example, during a fight with a snake, the viper can sting him, but its poison is not fatal to him. Sometimes these snakes eat large insects, and in humid habitats frogs become their victims.
Reproduction of yellow-bellied snakes
During the breeding season, yellow-bellied snakes are found in pairs. In the process of mating, the male holds the female by the neck with his jaws. At this time, snakes lose their usual vigilance.During the breeding season, yellow-bellied snakes are found in pairs.
4-6 weeks after mating, the female lays 6-12 eggs. Masonry is done in cracks and hollows of trees. In 3-4 years, yellow-bellied snakes begin puberty. And they live in the wild for about 7-8 years.
The natural enemies of yellow-bellied snakes are foxes, martens and large birds. Often they die under the wheels of cars, here the snakes are powerless with theirs hissing and menacing throws.
Due to the aggressive nature of yellow-bellied snakes, they cause particular dislike in people. Since snakes lead an open lifestyle, people often exterminate them. Damage to the population is caused by the plowing of the steppe lands and cattle breeding, which destroys the natural habitat of the snakes. In connection with these factors, the number of species began to decline steadily, but in the near future extinction of yellow-bellied snakes does not threaten.
Yellow-bellied snakes, like other snakes, are often kept in terrariums. Trapped individuals initially behave in captivity extremely restlessly, but quickly get used to new living conditions and become much less aggressive.
In southeastern Dagestan, the closest relative of this species lives - the red-bellied snake. These snakes have a red back, belly and even eyes of the same color.