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Australian Herpetology Website (Reptiles and Amphibians)

Covering Snakes and Lizards, Crocodiles ,Turtles,and Amphibians, including Colubrid snakes, Pythons, Elapids (called Cobras or Coral Snakes in some countries), Sea Snakes, File Snakes, Blind (or Worm) Snakes, Sea Turtles, Freshwater Turtles (or Tortoises) Dragon Lizards (Agamas), Gecko's, Legless Lizards Monitor Lizards (often called Goanna's in Australia), Skinks and other Reptile species.
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Reptiles of Kos Island Greece

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KOS,Greece, Bird Watching and Wildlife

WELCOME TO THE REPTILES OF KOS SECTION
John Fowler & Rachel Barnes

This part of the website is focused on reptiles found on the Greek Island of Kos in the Dodecanese Islands which are located in the Aegean Sea.

We have been unable to find a reliable checklist of reptile species found on the Island. As there are a lot of islands in the area, the species found vary from area to area. Kos is particularly close to mainland Turkey. The Tingaki area is an ideal base to look for Reptiles and Birds on the Island as it is close to the Alykes wetland reserve (a large salt lake that dries up in Summer) and more central to other Wildlife hotspots on the Island.

Reptile and Amphibian species known from Kos Island
I have made this list from species I have observed on the Island, and by searching internet. I do not believe it is 100% accurate ! PLEASE EMAIL me at rajohn1@adam.com.au if you have any species to add or that you think should be removed. Note that the Reptile species are very diverse and the Island is a favorite for nature lovers as the Island is a stopover for many species of migratory Birds at certain times of the year. Click here to view my Kos Reptile Photo Album and click here to view my Holiday in Kos Website.

Agamas (Dragon Lizards)

Starred Agama
Laudakia stellio
(
protected by the Greek Law )(Species of Community interest)(threatened species of the CORINE-biotopes project, 1988).
This species is extremely common on the island.

Lacertas
Only a few species of Lacertas are found on the island. (Lacerta's are not found in Australia.)

Balkan Green Lizard
Common
Lacerta trilineata is the largest species of lacerta on the Island. Juveniles are striped and look very different to Adults. I have seen them at Tingaki and between Tingaki and Pyli. Also reported from Psalidi.
.

European Snake-eyed Lizard / Menetries' Lizard
Ophisops elegans
Extremely common
(protected by the Greek Law)(Species of Community interest).
I have seen these at many places on the Island.

NOTE : Erhard's Wall Lizard Podarcis erhardii Does NOT appear to be present on KOS
References to this species occurring on the Island appear to be in error,
Superficially resembles Ophisops elegans but has moveable eyelids

Skinks

European Copper Skink
Ablepharus kitaibelii
Common
(Species of Community interest)(threatened species of the CORINE-biotopes project, 1988). I have found these at Tingaki

Levant Skink
Trachylepis or Euprepis(was Mabuya) auratus (aurata)
There seems to be very sparse information about this species occurring on Kos, which may have been confused with the Ocellated Skink
Chalcides ocellatus

Ocellated Skink

Chalcides ocellatus
Recorded from near Lambi

Geckos

Turkish Gecko
Hemidactylus turcicus
(protected by the Greek Law )
Extremely common
I have found these at Tingaki and Kardamena.

Kotschy's Gecko
Mediodactylus (Cyrtopodion) kotschyi - unconfirmed, superficially similar to the Turkish Gecko

Worm lizards

Turkish Worm Lizard
Blanus strauchi
Common
I have found these at Kos and near Kardamena

Anguids

Scheltopusik or European Legless Lizard
Ophisaurus apodus (Species of Community interest)
Large - Grows to over 1 meter!

Boas

Turkish sand boa
Eryx jaculus turcicus (CITES)

Worm/Blind Snakes

Worm Snake
Typhlops vermicularis

Colubrids


European Cat Snake

 (Telescopus fallax)
Rear fanged, but considered harmless
Nocturnal
This species is considered a Holy snake on the Island of Kefalonia where they are used in festivities in August.
Has been found near Antimacheia on Kos

 

Large Whip Snake
Dolichophis (Coluber)caspius
This picture CLICK HERE(from Holiday Truth)
taken at Kefalos shows typical patterned snakes either in combat or mating behavior. I have seen a photo of a similar very large snake from Psalidi (note there seems to be some confusion over this and the following "species" which may be a colour variety or subspecies. (Any help on clarifying this would be much appreciated.)

 

Black Whip Snake
Dolichophis (Coluber) jugularis
This appears the most commonly seen on the Island
I am hoping that I will be able to clarify the status of these varieties this year. (Any help on clarifying this would be much appreciated.)

Leopard Snake
Elaphe (Zamenis) situla
Confirmed as being on the Island, recorded near Zia

Coin Snake or Spotted Whip Snake
Hemorrhois (Coluber) (ravergier) nummifer
Weak venom - considered harmless.

Grass Snake
Natrix natrix
(protected by the Greek Law )

Dahl's Whip Snake
Platyceps (Coluber) najadum dahlii
(protected by the Greek Law )(Species of Community interest)

Kalymnos Melanistic Whip Snake
(protected by the Greek Law )(Species of Community interest)
Platyceps ( Coluber) najadum kalymnensis
This appears to be a melanistic (black) form or race of Platyceps (Coluber) najadum, which is found on Kalymnos. I have yet to establish whether it is found on Kos, or it may even be that the normal patterned "subspecies" is not found on Kos. Melanism is a genetic feature which I can't imagine is enough to classify it a a subspecies, however melanistic animals I have seen, look extremely different to normal animals so I have listed it for completeness. Kalymnos is a large Island very close to Kos.

Montpellier Snake
Malpolon monspessulanus
Unconfirmed - This is a rear fanged snake with a mild venom. Not regarded as dangerous. However bite may be painful. Note that it superficially resembles the Large Whip Snake, however the ridges over the eye are more pronounced which make it look like it is frowning.


4 Lined Snake
Elaphe quatuorlineata

A single record from Kos appears to have been a Coin Snake which looks like a juvenile 4 Lined Snake.

Vipers

Rock (Ottoman) Viper
Vipera xanthina
( protected under the Berne Convention)
potentially dangerous
(Note: there are no reliable reports of this species on Kos -
Despite locals believing it occurs)

First aid -
This appears to be the most sensible I have been able to find so far and is by David A Warrell for a similar species ( Vipera berus )
Initial management is to reassure, give paracetamol to control pain, and immobilise the whole patient (especially the bitten limb with a splint or sling) during urgent transport to hospital. Early anaphylactoid symptoms can be treated with an oral or parenteral H 1 blocker or adrenaline (epinephrine) (Epi-Pen), depending on severity. Any interference with the wound should be avoided. Tourniquets, ligatures, and compression bandages should not be used. (More bite treatment info)

Turtles/Tortoises

Spur Thighed Tortoise
Testudo graeca ibera
Very Common.
I have found these at Tingaki, Old Pyli, Kardamena, Kefalos, South of the Airport and and South of Kos.


Balkan Terrapin
Mauremys (caspica) rivulata aquatic species found in freshwater. I have found these at The Duck Pond between Tingaki and Pyli. I have also seen several near Marmari, and one in a coastal creek North- west of the Airport.

Red Eared Slider
Trachemys scripta (Introduced from the US)
American species common in the pet trade is found on the island, I have found them in The Duck Pond between Tingaki an Pyli. (Sold in local pet shops)

Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Carretta carretta
Marine Species, Nests on the Island

Green Sea Turtle
Chelonia mydas
Is found in the Aegean Sea but may not nest on the Island.
(Leatherbacks, Hawksbills and Kemp's Ridley turtle may possibly occur offshore on rare occassions).

Nile Soft-Shelled Turtle
Trionyx triunguis
marine and estuarine, rarely encountered on Kos. May grow to over a meter.

European Pond Turtle
Emys orbicularis

I have seen a photo taken at Psalidi

NOTE: Hermann's Tortoise Does not appear to occur on Kos
Testudo hermanni
Hermann's Tortoises reported on the Island in the past are probably Spur Thighed Tortoises Testudo graeca ibera, with a divided supracaudal shield, which do occur on the Island.
Superficially similar to the Spur Thighed Tortoise but lacking the "spurs" on their back legs..
Has also been reported from Old Pyli and is said to prefer areas with trees. There are normally 2 plates on the shell above the tail, in place of the single one found on most Spur Thighed Tortoises however some Spur Thighed Tortoises also share that characteristic . It also lacks the hinge on its underside of the shell near the tail.

AMPHIBIANS

Eastern Spadefoot
Pelobates syriacus

European Green Toad
Pseudepidalea viridis
(Bufo viridis)
I have found these at Kos.

Marsh or Lake Frog
Pelophylax ridibundus ( Rana ridibunda)
,(Species of Community interest)

Common/Striped Tree Frog
Hyla arborea

Levant Water or Bedriaga's Frog
Pelophylax (Rana)bedriagae
I have found one of these in the Mountains South of Kos.

Species which are not believed to occur on Kos but may be found nearby:-

Mediterranean Chameleon
Chamaeleo chamaeleon
Found at Bodrum (Turkey)

Dwarf Snake
Eirenis modestus
Found on Kalymnos

Rock (Ottoman) Viper
Vipera xanthina
( protected under the Berne Convention)
Found on Kalymnos
potentially dangerous
First aid -
This appears to be the most sensible I have been able to find so far and is by David A Warrell for a similar species ( Vipera berus )
Initial management is to reassure, give paracetamol to control pain, and immobilise the whole patient (especially the bitten limb with a splint or sling) during urgent transport to hospital. Early anaphylactoid symptoms can be treated with an oral or parenteral H 1 blocker or adrenaline (epinephrine) (Epi-Pen), depending on severity. Any interference with the wound should be avoided. Tourniquets, ligatures, and compression bandages should not be used. (More bite treatment info)

 

Protection
The reptiles Hemidactylus turcicus, Agama stellio, Ophisops elegans, Natrix natrix and Coluber najadum, are protected by the Greek Law (Presidential Decree 67/81). The species Ophisaurus apodus, Agama stellio, Ophisops elegans, Ablepharus kitaibelii, Coluber najadum and Rana ridibunda are considered Species of Community interest (Directive 92/43/EEC). The species Eryx jaculus is included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), 1973.The species Agama stellio, Ophisops elegans and Ablepharus kitaibelii are included in the checklist of threatened species of the CORINE-biotopes project, 1988.

Things which I believe may possibly have an impact on reptile numbers. (Bearing in mind that many species are still extremely common).

1. MANY LOCALS KILL ALL SNAKES ON SIGHT (Almost all harmless species some of which may be rare).
2. THERE IS A VERY LARGE CAT POPULATION ON THE ISLAND.
3. GOAT HERDS DAMAGE MUCH OF THE FLORA.
4. LAND CLEARING FOR TOURISM AND AGRICULTURE.
5. LOCALS DO NOT SEEM TO GENERALLY OBEY LAWS
6. THERE IS NOT MUCH INFORMATION ABOUT REPTILES AVAILABLE TO LOCALS.
7. MOST LOCALS HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OF REPTILE PROTECTION OR SPECIES.

Apparently some snakes were released on the island a few years ago in an attempt to replenish dwindling populations. If anyone has any further information about that please email me at rajohn1@adam.com.au

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