Portugal Wildlife

Guide to the Reptiles & Amphibians of a Wildlife Reserve in Baixo Alentejo

All Photographs were taken by the website author on the reserve unless otherwise stated.

Species IUCN Red List Status Photographs Photographs Photographs

 

  Turtles & Terrapins

 

 

Iberian Pond Turtle

Mauremys leprosa leprosa

Cágado

IUCN Red List Status:

Vulnerable; Population Trend Decreasing; Last Assessed Dec 2004

Iberian Pond Turtles enjoying the Autumn sun. The smaller turtle stood on the back of a larger one, is a juvenile and still shows bright orange markings on its neck and legs. These colours will fade as the turtle ages.

Swimming. Showing tail rather clearly.

Juvenile. The yellow curlicues on the head and neck distinguish this Iberian Pond Turtle from the similar European pond terrapin.

 

 

Iberian Pond Turtle in Bulrush Pond.

Two Iberian Pond Turtles interacting.

Swimming amongst Pond Water-Crowfoot flowers.

 

 

Two Iberian Pond Turtles interacting.

 

 

Young Turtle showing bright colouration on neck and legs.

Seven Iberian Pond Turtles basking in the January sunshine at Windmill Pond.

 

 

 

 

The first Iberian Pond Turtle to arrive at Bulrush Pond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Lizards

 

 

Moorish Gecko

Tarentola mauritanica

Osga comum

IUCN Red List Status:

Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Nov 2014

This species only has claws on its third and fourth toes. It grows up to 9cm in body length (16cm including tail).

The Gecko has small Red Mites between the toes on its left front foot.

During the day the Gecko hides in the gap between the Column and the Garage wall.

 

 

Moorish Gecko already active in February.

Crepuscular and nocturnal

 

 

Adult Moorish Gecko with new-grown replacement tail.

Juvenile Moorish Gecko.

Moorish Gecko hiding in space between pillar and wall during the daytime.

 

 

Juvenile.

 

 

Iberian Psammodromus

Psammodromus manuelae

Lagartixo do mato

 

Formerly Psammodromus algirus

IUCN Red List Status:

Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008

Male.

This species of Psammodromus is only recently described. So common English and Portuguese names are not yet fully established.

 

 

Iberian Psammodromus feeding on nectar of Bottlebrush.

Male showing orange-red head colouration.

Female on Bottlebriush flowers.

 

 

Much larger than Western Psammodromus.

 

 

 

 

Female.

Western Sand Racer or Western Psammodromus

Psammodromus occidentalis

Lagartixa do mato ibérica

IUCN Red List Status:

Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008

(This species not separated from Spanish Psammodromus by IUCN)

Male Western Sand Racer in breeding colours.

Formerly included in nearby species Psammodromus hispanicus which is now regarded as three separate species.

 

Quite a small lizard

 

  Amphisbaenians/Worm Lizards

 

 

Maria's Worm Lizard

Blanus mariae

Licranço de Maria

IUCN Red List Status:

Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008

- Based on Blanus cinereus - from which this species was recently split.

 

  Snakes

 

 

Horseshoe Whip Snake

Hemorrhois hippocrepis

Cobra de ferradura

IUCN Red List Status:

Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008

Approximately 1.6m in length.

 

 

Non-venomous.

This indivdual was approximately 55cm in length.

 

 

 

Ladder Snake

Rhinechis scalaris

Cobra de escada

IUCN Red List Status:

Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008

Juvenile Ladder Snakes have a totally different look to adults. They have characteristic "H" shaped marks along the back, which look somewhat ladder-like, hence the name "ladder snake".

This species is non-venomous.

 

 

Adult Ladder Snakes do not have the ladder markings on the back. Instead they have a black line running down the top of the body, one on each side.

 

Iberian False Smooth Snake

Macroprotodon brevis

Cobra de capuz
Near Threatened; Population Trend Decreasing; Last Assessed Dec 2008

Generally active at dusk or during the night.

Though this snake is venomous it has a small mouth and fangs at the back of the mouth and low toxicity venom. It has never been recorded envenomating a human.

 

Viperine Snake

Natrix maura

Cobra de água viperina

Least Concern; Population Trend Decreasing; Last Assessed Dec 2008

 

Viperine Snake sunning itself while hunting Iberian Water Frogs.

 

 

Viperine Snakes mating.

Viperine Snakes mating.

Viperine Snakes mating.

 

 

Viperine Snake hunting Eastern Mosquitofish.

Viperine Snake strikes at Eastern Mosquitofish.

 

 

Viperine Snake swimming in Windmill Pond.

Juvenile.

Juvenile.

 

 

Juvenile.

A mostly aquatic snake that feeds primarily on amphibians (and fish - but fish not yet recorded on the reserve).

 

 

Viperine Snake swimming in Windmill Pond.

 

 

Under water, at bottom f Bulrush Pond.

Two Viperine Snakes intertwined.

 

 

Viperine Snake swimming in Hide Pond.

 

 

Viperine Snake in Bulrush Pond at night.

 

 

 

Non-venomous.

Two Viperine Snakes at Hide Pond.

 

Western Montpellier Snake

Malpolon monspessulanus

Cobra rateira

IUCN Red List Status:

Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008

Very young Western Montpellier Snake in Bulrush Pond.

This species is a fast, visual predator that actively hunts its prey. When hunting it holds its head and forepart of its body off the ground.

Very young Western Montpellier Snake swimming across Bulrush Pond.

 

 

Western Montpellier Snake drinking at Hide Pond.

 

 

Male Western Montpellier Snake showing yellowish front part of body.

 

Snake

 

Snake Skin shed by unknown species of snake. Perhaps 90 cm in length.

 

 

 

  Newts & Salamanders

 

 

Sharp-Ribbed Newt

Pleurodeles waltl

Salamandra de costelas salientes

IUCN Red List Status:

Near Threatened; Population Trend Decreasing; Last Assessed Dec 2008

Sharp-Ribbed Newt rescued from swimming pool and re-homed into Bulrush Pond.

 

 

Sharp-ribbed Newt. This species has an amazing defence mechanism. Along each flank is a row of orange spots. When picked up and threatened they poke their ribs through the spots, where they pick up some venom, so the sharp rib points inject poison into their potential attacker, prompting it to let the newt go.

Sharp-ribbed Newt just prior to being released into our pond.

Sharp-ribbed Newts can grow up to 30cm in length.

 

 

Two Sharp-ribbed newts being relocated to my pond having been discovered in my borehole cistern during cleaning operations.

Two Sharp-ribbed Newts discovered on the reserve. This species is listed as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Very exciting news indeed. Very exciting to have the opportunity to provide a safe home for a near threatened amphibian. Hopefully they will stay in our pond and thrive.

Dead Sharp-Ribbed Newt at Windmill Pond.

 

 

Dead Sharp-Ribbed Newt at Windmill Pond.

 

 

 

  Toads & Frogs

 

 

Spiny Toad

Bufo spinosus

Sapo comum

 

This species has only recently been split from the Common Toad - Bufo bufo

IUCN Red List Status:

Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008

Spiny Toads can be quite variable in colour.

The orange-red eye colour is characteristic.

Europe's largest species of Toad: The Spiny Toad can be as large as 18cm long. This specimen is a female and possibly a gravid female.

 

 

Spiny Toads are nocturnal. This one was seen on the first rainy night in January.

 

 

Spiny Toads in amplexus (mating). Note that the male, on top, is much smaller than the female. Photographed in daytime at Windmill Pond.

Spiny Toad spawn. These toad eggs were laid in a number of strings in a temporary rain puddle.

 

 

 

 

Natterjack Toad

Epidalea calamita

Sapo corredor

IUCN Red List Status:

Least Concern; Population Trend Decreasing; Last Assessed Dec 2008

Natterjack Toad - A nocturnal species, photographed at night. They grow up to 10cm in length.

Seen at the end of November when Natterjacks start to breed after the rains have begun.

Natterjacks living in Southern Iberia often do not have the dorsal stripe common to more Northerly Natterjacks.

 

 

 

 

Iberian Tree Frog

Hyla molleri

Rã arborícola ibérico

This species has only recently been split from the Common Tree Frog - Hyla arborea.

IUCN Red List Status:

Least Concern; Population Trend Decreasing; Last Assessed Dec 2008

IUCN Red List includes this species with European Tree Frog.

 

 

 

 

Iberian Water Frog

Pelophylax perezi

Rã verde

IUCN Red List Status:

Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008

Iberian Water Frogs Mating (Amplexus). The male is much smaller than the female.

Iberian Water Frog calling.

Iberian Water Frog calling.

 

 

Probably an Iberian Water Frog Tadpole.

Iberian Water Frog - this tiny froglet has just emerged from the tadpole stage in Bulrush Pond.

Tadpole soon to be transformed into a Froglet. Probably an Iberian Water Frog.

 

 

Froglet that still has its tail. The tail will soon be 'absorbed' so it will become a proper froglet.

Tadpole swimming with hind legs folded against tail.

 

 

Tadpole clearly showing hind legs.

At night. Note webbing on hind foot.

 

Tadpoles (at night) - most likely of Iberian Water Frog.

 

 

Iberian Water Frog - Eardrum is clearly visible.

 

 

Iberian Water Frog vocalising. The sound waves are 'visible' in the water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Iberian Water Frog sitting in shallow water of the Spring that produces some of the water for the Windmill Pond.

 

 

Iberian Water Frog at night.

 

 

 

 

 

The chart below shows the IUCN Red list categories. The further towards the right hand side, the more serious are the threats to a particular species.

Reptile Species List :

1 Iberian Pond Turtle Mauremys leprosa leprosa Cágado Vulnerable; Population Trend Decreasing; Last Assessed Dec 2004
2 Moorish Gecko Tarentola mauritanica Osga comum Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Nov 2014
3 Iberian Psammodromus Psammodromus manuelae or P algirus Lagartixo do mato Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008
4 Western Sand Racer or Western Psammodromus Psammodromus occidentalis Lagartixa do mato ibérica Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008
5 Maria's Worm Lizard Blanus mariae Licranço de Maria Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008
6 Horseshoe Whip Snake Hemorrhois hippocrepis Cobra de ferradura Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008
7 Ladder Snake Rhinechis scalaris Cobra de escada Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008
8 Iberian False Smooth Snake Macroprotodon brevis Cobra de capuz Near Threatened; Population Trend Decreasing; Last Assessed Dec 2008
9 Viperine Snake Natrix maura Cobra de água viperina Least Concern; Population Trend Decreasing; Last Assessed Dec 2008
10 Western Montpellier Snake Malpolon monspessulanus Cobra rateira Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008

 

Amphibian Species List :

1 Sharp-ribbed newt Pleurodeles waltl Salamandra de costelas salientes Near  Threatened; Population Trend Decreasing; Last Assessed Dec 2008
2 Spiny Toad Bufo spinosus Sapo comum Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008
3 Natterjack Toad Epidalea calamita Sapo corredor Least Concern; Population Trend Decreasing; Last Assessed Dec 2008
4 Iberian Tree Frog Hyla molleri Rã arborícola ibérico Least Concern; Population Trend Decreasing; Last Assessed Dec 2008
5 Iberian Water Frog Pelophylax perezi Rã verde Least Concern; Population Trend Stable; Last Assessed Dec 2008

 

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