Following a couple of sightings, we decided to wage war on the rats that roam the garden here, so yesterday I cleared everything from behind the pump house and set up four conventional traps.
Unfortunately, when I checked the traps later that evening, I discovered that we had accidentally caught a beautiful horseshoe whipsnake, which was 3 to 4 feet in length. What was particularly sad, is that this snake wasn't after the food and had activated the trap whilst passing and was caught in the midriff.
Although we released him immediately and could see that he was still alive, he was not moving, so we could only imagine he was in shock. After a while, with a bit of persuasion, we managed to coax him into a piece of metal pipe and that is where we left him for the night.
I returned to the area of pipe this morning, fearing the worse, but NO...I am pleased to say that there was no sign of him, so we assume that he survived and is out there somewhere under a rock, recovering from his ordeal.
The horseshoe whipsnake, takes it's name from the horseshoe pattern along its body and in Spanish is called a 'culebra de herradura' It is found throughout the south of Spain and all along the Mediterranean coast up to Barcelona and favours sunny bare stony ground.
This particular snake makes up 9% of the booted eagle's diet, which would explain while we regularly see one circling the house early in the evenings.