Brit holidaymakers warned to be on red alert as snakes wake up for the summer

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Brit holidaymakers fancying a trip to Spain have been told to be on red alert as the country's snakes up wake up for the season.

Mallorca, one of the most popular destination with Brits, will see snakes become more common between May and July as the serpents look for the ideal nesting place.

Last year, several snakes were spotted on the beach in Calvia and Andratx on the island that flanks Ibiza.

"This is their gestation time, so they are looking for the ideal nesting place," says Vanessa Rubio, biologist at the Consorci per a la Recuperació de la Fauna de les Illes Balears, or COFIB.

"In May, June and July snakes are more active so people are more likely to see them, especially if it's hot," she says. "Temperatures have not risen much yet, but the snakes are waking up and if we have a cold May and June, we will see more of them in summer."

Horseshoe snakes, considered a relatively new addition to the island, are expected to be common sights on the stunning Balearic island.

The snakes are docile enough as snakes go, but if they feel threatened they will attack.

However, when people are around they flee more often than not.

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"Snakes are not a danger to people," insists Rubio. "Being bitten by a horseshoe snake is like being bitten by a cat and they are not poisonous or dangerous. They will defend themselves if they are cornered and try to bite, but they are not poisonous."

There are five species of snake in the Balearic Islands: the serp de garriga and the serp d'aigua.

The garrigue serp is a protected species and the other three are the serp d'ferradura or horseshoe snake, the serp verda and the white serp, the Mallorca Daily Bulletin reports.

There are, however, five types of poisonous snakes and about 10 nonpoisonous snakes in Spain, consistently the top tourist destination for Brit travellers.

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In November last year Ewan Wilson, from Cardiff, was driving through the countryside in Diseminado Cabo Gata, Almeria, south-east Spain, when he was bitten by a ladder snake.

Mr Wilson, who was wearing a head camera, filmed as he and his girlfriend crouched down by the ladder snake – fortunately one of Spain's non-venemous species.

It started to hiss and then suddenly lunged at Mr Wilson, biting his hand as he went to pick it up.

  • Animals

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