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My Escapes Italy Naples, Islands, Pizza and Camorra! Capri Capri - the "Gem Island" Attacked By an Angry [...]

Attacked By an Angry Black Snake!

August 22, 2015

This is a travel story of my encounter with an angry black snake on the isle of Capri, Italy. Yes: snake attack!
I took a pleasant stroll on a seemingly peaceful trail. Then, this happened!

Capri has a network of well-maintained trails and pedestrian streets offering pleasant walks in places where cars can't reach.

You can get to Capri from Anacapri within 30-45 minutes if you walk on steps, trails. And this was exactly what I chose. The road traffic was intense and I couldn't grab a bus, so I opted for the walk variant.

My route started at the Phoenician Steps (the steps are literally cut into the side of Monte Solaro). I walked down to find a trail and proceeded to walk to the town of Capri.

The sight of the white houses and the azure blue water from high ground (at the edge of Anacapri) is breathtaking.

Houses on Capri

White houses on Capri from above...

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I saw descending into a shady forest, passing through sunlit hot areas both before and after the forest. This is exactly what reptiles adore: sunbathing on the hot stones or... on the pavement.

I arrived at the houses and was passing a green gate - suddenly I heard an unmistakable snake hissing sound and a black snake slid out from a ditch under that gate...

The snake stopped right in front of me, contracted like a coil, raised his neck like a cobra and kept vibrating his tail like a rattle snake.

It blocked my way and acted like he was getting ready to bite me.

I jumped back about 1.5 m...
(The distance between us was about 1 m initially, so I reckoned I can allow myself to leap back 1-2 m, before he gets closer).

"What sort of a snake is this?" - I asked myself, as we were staring each other straight in the eye...

It was pitch black, but had no yellow or white spots at the back of his head - so it wasn't the "common water" snake.

The reptile was ferociously attacking me and this was no water snake behaviour. He wasn't scared of me at all and was brutally serious about the attack.

It wasn't a viper, because he had a round head with round eyes.

He then turned to the left and I struggled to immortalize him with my camera.

The black snake slid away, crossing the road, but initially coming my way(!).

This is him...

Black snake on Capri

Behold: the black snake that had attacked me

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I kept researching snakes that live in this part of Italy. And many sources seemed to point out to the western whip snake specie. It's part of the coluber group.
According to some sources, it's considered a water snake.

The latin names I came across were: coluber viridiflavus and hierophis viridiflavus.

Italians call this snake "biacco".

I'm not sure it's exactly "my snake", but it seems it's not venomous.

This site depicts the western whip snake, which lives in Italy and it's not poisonous, but has fangs and can bite ferociously.

Better photo depictions of what seems like "my snake" can be seen in this external source image.

I wasn't expecting to encounter a snake on an island teeming with so many "high life" people and so little wilderness.

My Capri snake attack experience is now among my most memorable travel experiences, but I doubt anyone would put "get attacked by an angry snake" on their bucket list.

Obviously these snakes aren't frequent on the island and I don't exclude the possibility of this snake being someone's "pet".

Water snakes and house snakes are found in various forms and colours across Europe, but it's always better to be precautions.

Even a non-venomous snake can cause strong pain through its bite and they can spread dangerous bacteria.

If anyone knows more about the snakes living on Capri or in the Naples Bay area, then please leave a comment down below.

Escape Hunter

About the Author:

Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...


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