It’s been a while since I’ve written about the wildlife at Lou Messugo but not for the lack of it, far from it, this summer has been all about snakes and pretty green frogs in my French garden. I guess that could be a bit of an exaggeration as the summer hasn’t really been all about these creatures, but in terms of wildlife seen in the garden recently, these two have featured.
Let’s start with the pretty one: we recently had to rescue a gorgeous little green frog from the swimming pool. It appeared to have jumped in for a swim but couldn’t get out. Luckily, being so aesthetically pleasing none of us minded the idea either of it in the pool or actually handling it. (Another story altogether when the beast in question was large, grey and covered in warts….)
I’d never seen a frog like this before in France and thought it looked very tropical. The last (similar) one I’d seen was in Mullumbimby, in Northern NSW Australia, in the late 80s (oh dear that’s going back a bit and I only remember it because it startled me in the shower!) But it turned out to be quite simply a tree frog, a species surprisingly common in Europe. This one is a Stripeless Tree Frog or Mediterranean Tree Frog (Hyla Meridionalis) or Rainette Meridionale in French found along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts in France. The pads on its fingers and toes allow it to climb in trees and other vegetation (and along with its startling colour are also what give it that exotic tropical look I reckon).
Now for the other wildlife spotted in the garden this summer, decidedly less jolie and undoubtedly less popular, I know plenty of people hate snakes or fear them but I’m not one. I’ve always been fascinated by them ever since I tracked a python to its hole with my dad in what was then known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, now Keoladeo National Park, in Rajasthan, India, aged somewhere around 6-8.
The snakes in our garden aren’t anything like as big, dangerous or interesting as that python, but I still get a thrill when I see one. It’s hard to get good photos of them as they tend not to hang around for long and consequently it’s not easy to identify them properly but I’m quite sure they’ve all just been regular grass snakes. Having not seen a snake for quite some time, the last couple of months have proved rather fruitful in serpent viewing: we first spotted this long one slithering across the lawn (photos above and below), undisturbed by anyone, just out exploring while we ate lunch en famille nearby. I then saw one wrapped around a flowerpot on the front steps and the little son found one on the lid of the garbage bin a couple of evenings ago when I sent him out with the rubbish. Along with the one I saw while camping at the Gorges du Verdon, that makes 4 in a short space of time. Pas mal!
Can you spot the snake in the photo above? Look hard, it’s there! What do you think of the latest wildlife sightings at Lou Messugo? Do you like frogs and snakes….or is that a really silly question?!