Croatian Photo-Herp Trip
Zagreb & Istria


Velika Gorica, Turopolje, Zagreb County

Neven and I drove to the home of herpetologist Ivo Peranić and he took us out to one of his semi-agricultural sites for the Balkan adder (Vipera berus bosniensis). Just in case we did not find any specimens he had a pair from the previous day that I could photograph, a melanistic male and a normal female.

Ivo Peranić, Mark O'Shea and Neven Vrbanic
with the cube in which the reptiles and amphibians were photographed

We walked around the site spotting salamander larvae of an unidentified species in the shallow streams and I caught an Agile frog (Rana dalmatina) to photograph. We are accompanied for part of the time by Ivo's herp-spotting son Marco.

Balkan adder, Vipera berus bosniensis
looking across a hibernaculum


Mark with Ivo and his son Marco
Photo: Neven Vrbanic


The habitat did not look like adder habitat, it looked disturbed but apparently the adders did well in the edge-situations where the woodland bordered the fields and there was a low hibernaculum at the bottom of the site.


Balkan adder, Vipera berus bosniensis
edge-habitat, woodland meets agricultural land

Ivo captured two Balkan adders, an attractive partial melanistic male and a smaller more normal patterned male. A totally melanistic male evaded capture in the roadside vegetation. Neven captured a Balkan slow worm (Anguis graeca) also crossing a path near where I had set up my photographic cube and a second Agile frog was also caught.


Photography on a set built in the photographic cube
Photo: Neven Vrbanic


Balkan adders, Vipera berus bosniensis
even occur in the roadside vegetation, we missed one here

Near to the vehicles a Smooth snake (Coronella austrica austriaca) was captured crossing the dirt road and this specimen would prove to be the most difficult herp to photograph of the day.

The spot where the
Smooth snake, Coronella austriaca austriaca
was found crawling across the road

At the end of the search Ivo took the two adders we had captured and the two from the previous day and released them back at their capture localities near the hibernaculum.


Ivo releasing four
Balkan adders, Vipera berus bosniensis