Wildlife in Italy: Cervone

Wildlife in Italy: Cervone

Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Reptiles
Order: Squamata
suborders: Snakes
Family: colubrids
Kind: Elaphe
Species: E. quatuorlineata

The Cervone (Elaphe quatuorlineata) can be found in the central-southern regions of Italy, up to 1,000 meters above sea level. It was once also found in the Po and Venetian plains. It prefers the warm and humid environments of the Mediterranean scrub: areas near the woods, abandoned buildings, stony areas and dry stone walls.
It is a protected species because it is endangered.
A popular belief says that it was attracted by the smell of milk and that it attached directly to the udders of goats and cows, or that it induced vomiting in infants and then drank the regurgitated milk.
For the celebrations of San Domenico in Cocullo (AQ), the statue of the patron saint is covered entirely with cervons and carried in procession all over the town.
San Domenico is protector from snakebites, anger and toothache.

Distinctive characters

In Europe it is the snake that reaches its maximum length, can reach up to 2.40 m.
The typical color of this reptile defines its Latin name: its body is light brown with four dark lines that run along it along its entire length, hence the name "quatuorlineata".


It feeds on small reptiles, rodents, nestlings, eggs and small mammals.
He spends the winter in rodents' dens left abandoned.

Cervone - Elaphe quatuorlineata (photo

Cervone - Elaphe quatuorlineata (photo

curated by Ivana Stella

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