Reptiles, Amphibians and Insects
When I first moved to Slovenia I was terrified of snakes. You see them here regularly. But as with (almost) everything, you get used to things. The snake we see the most is the slowworm. And as the name implies, it is more of a large earthworm than a snake. Here they call him “blind” snake (Slepec). No idea if he is really blind, but at least he doesn’t do anything. In principle, it can bite, but it only has such a small mouth that it could not even bite my finger. I wanted to try to get used to snakes so I asked Bine to call me if he saw a slowworm somewhere. He then picked it up and I tried very carefully to “stroke” it with one finger. Slowly but surely my fear disappeared and now I pick them up myself, although with gloves on. It still scares me when one suddenly shoots away somewhere, but I am no longer afraid of them.
However, there are also poisonous snakes, vipers. Toxic in the sense that you can suffer (pain) from a bite, but they are far from deadly. And as with most wild animals, they are more afraid of us than we are of them and will always try to get away from us if possible. They only attack when they feel threatened and cannot get away quickly enough. Another snake that we see here regularly is the Aesculapian snake (Gož). That is also the largest species of snakes in Slovenia. It can grow up to 2 meters long but is totally harmless. A beautiful animal to see. We have seen this snake several times and Bine was able to take a picture of it once when it was crossing the road in the village..
We also have a lot of amphibian species here. A while ago we had two toads on our terrace every night. I put them in a bucket twice and put them in the garden. After that, there was just one coming back every evening. I left that one alone then. At first, I was afraid that one of the cats would get him but apparently, they don’t like toads;).
In the summer we see lots and lots of little Wall lizards (Martinček). They like to sit between the stones and rocks and when it is warm they enjoy sunbathing on it. They are super fast and therefore they can sometimes give you a scare, but they don’t do anything. Another species of lizard that is common here is the larger Western emerald lizard (Zelenec). It has a beautiful green-blue color. When it is caught by its tail, for example by a cat, it automatically releases it, and then it grows back on its own.
I have more trouble with insects, but some of them are also very interesting and even beautiful to see, such as the Praying Mantis (Bogomoljka).
Fortunately, we are not bothered by insects here. Sometimes we have some ants and in the summer some wasps, but nothing “serious”. Many people are very afraid of hornets (Sršen). We also see them regularly. However, this large wasp species is not aggressive at all and I don’t panic when one is around. Just sit quietly and it will fly away. We make sure, however, that they do not build a nest in the neighborhood.
What is also a very special insect to see is the Stag beetle (Rogač). It is one of the largest beetle species in Europe and can grow up to 9 centimeters long. The male has very long jaws that remind you of deer antlers. Hence the name. When it flies by it makes a loud grumbling noise. The strange thing is that it almost flies slantwise and “takes off” that way as well. Very funny to watch. If you want to live in nature you will have to take all these creatures with it :).