| Elaphe situla Linnaeus, 1758|
Main synonym = Zamenis situla Utiger, 2002
| Taxonomical Classification: Animalia / Chordata / Reptilia / Squamata / Colubridae |
| Leopard Snake, European Ratsnake Lifgħa|
| Further Information: |
Reaching up to 1 meter in length the Leopard snake usually constrics its prey. It feeds mainly on rodents but when still young it eats lizards. This snake hibernates during winter when temperatures are low and reproduces in spring laying roughly 4 eggs. This beautiful snake does not have slit-like pupils unlike that of a Telescopus fallax and is diurnal. May be seen at dusk.
There are four different pattern forms: blotched (the common one), striped, quadristriped, and hohenackeri-type. According to information in www.Kingsnake.com, the Hohenackeri (images 8 to 12 below) form is apparently known only from Malta, while in other regions, specimens with a partial pattern is also found. The images of this endemic form were photographed from Zebbug (Gozo) on 28 October 2013 by Stephen Mifsud where an example was found injured possibly after being hunted by a ferile cat.
Further info: Kingsnake.com . Many thanks to Mr. Carmel Camilleri for the extra information about different pattern morphs of the Leopard Snake.An identification key for the four species of snake recorded from Malta can be found in this link
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