Similarly to other reptiles of moderate climate, the hungarian meadow viper spend the autumn-winter period hibernated in a well hidden burrow. At that time they rarely visit the surface, which makes gathering data of them very difficult. We know little about what is happening with them during the winter, even though that knowledge would be most valuable. A recent documentary shows how professionals of the meadow viper LIFE+ program track the snakes even under the snow cover.
When the long winter is finally ended, the breeding season started. However the extreme amount of precipitation poses other hazards to animals emerging from hibernation. Even though reptiles are less sensitive to the flooding of their burrows, leaving them too early is risky to them as well.
This year’s circumstances are quite different than the very dry last year’s for snake and biologist alike.
Male meadow vipers appear on the surface earlier than females in order to moult and start sperm production. This also meant that it is time for the colleagues of meadow viper program to start field-work.
This year’s first observed viper was a 2-3 years old male at a meadow in Pest county. It was in good condition and after registering its morphological parameters and collecting DNA sample it was released near the spot where it was found.
Tasks regarding conservation had started near the releasing sites too. Moulted skins were found indicating that for many vipers the overwinter was successfull and they are preparing for the mating. Even a young female which was released last summer was spotted in the company of an unidentified male.
Most snakes in the enclosures of the meadow viper conservation centre successfully made it through the winter, only a few young animals had perished. They spend more and more time in the surface. In the last few weeks moulting and mating has taken place, and they already started to feed.
With the arrival of the nice weather the gates of the Hungarian meadow viper Conservation Centre are open for visitors once again.
This year’s first visitors were the 32 students and parents from the ”Izsáki Természetismereti Tábor” who regurarly pay us a visit.
We still welcome groups to visit us, moreover on the 25th of May, 2013, in connection with the European National Park’s Day we organize an open day especially for families.
We will guide participants through our educational trail where they can meet three types of habitats; grassland, wetland and forest. It is a possibility to spot pond turtles, aesculapian snakes and drinking or bathing birds (robin, wagtail, home redstart, buzzard, or even bee-eaters) and beautifull orchids. The walk on the wetland is especially promising as the portholes on the parapet surrounding the lake make it possible to observe birds in their natural environment.
After the hike a short presentation will be held at the Educational Centre and we also present the hungarian meadow viper. The duration of the program is appr. 2.5 hours.
We will also provide games and programmes in the garden of the Centre for the children.
The meeting will be at Kunpeszér at 9:00am.
Prior registration is mandatory!
More information and registration: Erzsébet Herbót e-mail or telephone: +36-20-314-3192.
A rákosi vipera programot támogatja a Környezetvédelmi és Vizügyi Minisztérium és az Európai Unió LIFE-Nature alapja (LIFE04NAT/HU/000116 és LIFE07 NAT/H/000322 sz. pályázatok) Az oldalon található írások és fényképek jogtulajdonosa a Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület