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In this time the snakes actively seek each other and mating begins. Growing up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) in length, it is among the largest European snakes, similar sized to the four-lined snake (Elaphe quatuorlineata) and the Montpellier snake (Malpolon monspessulanus). [3] It is dark, long, slender, and typically bronzy in color, with smooth scales that give it a metallic sheen. Though the Aesculapian snake occupies a relatively broad range and is not endangered as a species, it is thought to be in general decline largely due to anthropic disturbances.

Above around 27 °C they try to avoid exposure to direct sunlight and cease activity with more extreme heat. The populations previously classified as Elaphe longissima living in south-east Azerbaijan and northern Iranian Hyrcanian forests were reclassified by Nilson and Andrén in 1984 to Elaphe persica, now Zamenis persicus. The eggs incubate for around 8 (6 to 10) weeks before hatching.[3][4]. It is suspected this colony may have been there some years, undetected. Aesculapian Snake (Zamenis longissimus)This beautiful non-native snake has been introduced from mainland Europe to a couple of sites in the UK. Musilova R, Zavadil V, Marková S, Kotlík P (2010). The Aesculapian snake /ˌɛskjəˈleɪpiən/ (now Zamenis longissimus, previously Elaphe longissima), is a species of nonvenomous snake native to Europe, a member of the Colubrinae subfamily of the family Colubridae.

This population had persisted and reproduced since at least the early 1970s.

In most of their range they are typically found in broadleaf forests along river valleys and riverbeds (but not marshes), forest steppes, shrublands, woods interspersed with meadows, etc. Three specimens were collected in Denmark between 1810 and 1863 on the southern part of Zealand, presumably from a relict and now extinct population. Another significant threat also comes from roads both in terms of new construction and rising traffic, with a risk of further fragmentation of populations and loss of genetic exchange.

The courtship consists of the elegant dance between the male and female, with anterior portions of the bodies raised in an S-shape and the tails entwined. Other distinctions, as in many snakes, include in males a relatively longer tail to total body length and a wider tail base. According to fossil evidence, the species' area in the warmer Atlantic period (around 8000–5000 years ago) of Holocene reached as far north as Denmark. Aesculapian snake (plural Aesculapian snakes) A European species of nonvenomous snake, Zamenis longissimus, syn. It is surmised that the typical depiction of the god with his snake-entwined staff features the species. Two further enclaves include the first around Lake Urmia in northern Iran, and on the northern slopes of Mount Ararat in east Turkey, roughly halfway between the former and the Black Sea habitats. The synanthropic aspect appears to be more pronounced in northernmost parts of the range where they are dependent on human structures for food, warmth and hatching grounds.

https://www.britannica.com/animal/Aesculapian-snake. Aesculapian snakes can be active even during hibernation, moving around to keep a body temperature near 5 °C and occasionally emerging to bask on sunny days. The average home range for French populations has been calculated at 1.14ha, however males will travel longer distances of up to 2 km to find females during the mating season and females to find suitable hatching sites to lay eggs. "The Aesculapian Staff and the Caduceus as Medical Symbols". They avoid open plains and agricultural deserts. "Relics of the Europe’s warm past: Phylogeography of the Aesculapian snake". The Aesculapian Snake (Elaphe longissima) is a nonvenomous snake native to Europe. Further isolated populations have been identified in western Germany (Schlangenbad, Odenwald, lower Salzach, plus one - near Passau - connected to the contiguous distribution area) and the northwest of the Czech Republic (near Karlovy Vary, the northernmost known current natural presence of the species). Particularly in the northern parts of the range, preferred hatching grounds often are used by multiple females and are also shared with grass snakes. Aesculapian snakes prefer forested, warm but not hot, moderately humid but not wet, hilly or rocky habitats with not sparse vegetation. In most of their range they are typically found in relatively intact or fairly cultivated warmer temperate broadleaf forests including the more humid variety such as along river valleys and riverbeds (but not marshes) and forest steppes. Maximum weight for German populations has been 890 grams (1.96 lb) for males and 550 grams (1.21 lb) for females (Böhme 1993; Gomille 2002).
[4], It has been speculated that the species may be actually more prevalent than thought due to spending a significant part of its time in tree canopy, however no reliable data exist as to what part that would be. The Aesculapian snakes are deemed secretive and not always easy to find even in areas of positive presence, or found in surprising contexts.

The Aesculapian Snake was once native to the UK - Fossil Remains of Aesculapian Snakes found in Suffolk & Essex. Frequented locations include places such as forest clearings in succession, shrublands at the edges of forests and forest/field ecotones, woods interspersed with meadows etc. Also a threat mainly to juveniles and hatches are domestic animals such as cats, dogs, and chickens, and even rats may be dangerous to inactive adult specimens in hibernation. Juveniles mainly eat lizards and arthropods, later small rodents.

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Italian_Aesculapian_snake&oldid=944574178, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. This is not to be confused with the staff of Hermes (the winged staff with two snakes). Melanistic, erythristic, and albinotic natural forms are known, as is a dark grey form. It is lighter in color, with a reddish-orange to glowing red iris. [citation needed], A significant threat also are roads both in terms of new construction and rising traffic, with a risk of further fragmentation of populations and loss of genetic exchange.[3].

Males are larger than females.

In France it is said to be the only snake species that occurs inside dense, shadowy forests with minimum undergrowth, presumably because of using foliage for basking and foraging. Aesculapian snakes are carnivores.
The Aesculapian Snake prefers forested, warm but not hot, moderately humid but not wet, hilly or rocky habitats with proper insolation and varied, not sparse vegetation that provides sufficient variation in local microclimates, helping the reptile with thermoregulation.

Sometimes, especially when pale in color, two darker longitudinal lines along the flanks can be visible. This species is also associated with Greek Mythology and Medical History. The Aesculapian snake is a nonvenomous snake native to Europe. In other parts of the range it has been reported to only use the canopy on a more substantial basis in largely uninhabited areas, such as the natural beech forests of the East Slovak and Ukrainian Carpathians, with similar characteristics. Asclepius' attributes, the snake and the staff, sometimes depicted separately in antiquity, are combined in this symbol.

They are dark, long, slender, and shiny.

Rival males engage in ritual fights the aim of which is to pin down the opponent's head with one's own or coils of one's body; they may also bite each other. This species is also found in some places of Austria and Germany where Roman temples of healing were established. There are also fossils showing that they had UK residency during earlier interglacial periods but were driven south afterwards with subsequent glacials; these repeated climate-caused contractions and extensions of range in Europe appear to have occurred multiple times over the Pleistocene. Juveniles are light green or brownish-green with various darker patterns along the flanks and on the back. Utiger U, Helfenberger N, Schätti B, Schmidt C, Ruf M, Ziswiler V (2002).

The Aesculapian snake is a nonvenomous snake native to Europe.
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