Snake Hunting In Croatia

I went for a hike the other day in the mountains above my apartment in Orebic, Croatia. It was hot and sunny and the snakes were out enjoying the warm weather.

On the hike up, I saw three snakes – two alive and one dead.

They don’t look like any kind of snake I’ve ever seen before – more like salamanders than snakes. But not knowing whether they’re poisonous or not, I treat them as though they are and run like a girl whenever I see one.

I was already a little nervous about being so far out from civilization by myself and in a place swarming with snakes, but then I suddenly heard the large crack of branches on the trail ahead of me as a man dressed in full head-to-toe camouflage stepped out of the bushes carrying an 18 inch machete!

He quickly stepped my way, saying something to me in Croatian or Bosnian or who knows what language.

“Do you speak English?” I ask him, as he stepped within a couple feet of me, his machete high in the air.

“Yes. A little.” he says. “Where you going!?”

Looking more at the blade than at his dark bearded face I tell the man that I’m simply going on a hike and planned to walk to the top of the mountain where the trail eventually dies out. But he doesn’t seem to understand though, as he asks me three more times, “Where you going?”

I point and finally get the message across.

“Okay” he says “But watch out! There is lots of snakes. It is hot today and snakes like it hot.”

“Yeah, I’ve seen a couple of them” I say to the man. His eyes bug out and for a moment he looks like a scared little child, nearly on the verge of a whimper. Apparently he’s afraid of snakes.

With such a limited vocabulary, the conversation between the man and I quickly dies out and I start to walk in the direction I was heading (At this point I feel like retreating down the mountain might make me appear scared, inferior, or vulnerable, so I continue up the mountain along my intended path).

But as I go to turn my back to the man he says to me again, “Watch out for snakes” and taps me on the arm with the broad side of the machete before walking off down the trail in the direction I had just come.

Needless to say, the rest of the hike was a desperate attempt to keep one eye peeled on the ground for any snakes that might slither into my path… and one eye peeled in the bushes, watching to make sure no more men carrying machetes and dressed in head-to-toe camouflage were going to pop out and interrogate me.


0 thoughts on “Snake Hunting In Croatia

  1. Paul says:

    Snakes are my least favorite.. or should I say I strongly dislike them.. Have you encountered with snakes besides this one? (e.g. while you’re camping, etc., esp. in the States) This is pretty much my only concern when I go on a tour.. Wild animals.. but esp. snakes :T

  2. Bicycle Touring Pro says:

    I have come across a LOT of snakes on my travels, but only 2 or 3 times can I remember them posing any sort of threat. When you are riding your bike they aren’t really anything to worry about. You just have to be careful when you go off hiking or camping in the bush. In most cases, snakes will get away from you if they can. But if you accidentally step on one, that’s when you can get in trouble (I’ve done it twice… and once with a rattlesnake – scary!). So just keep an eye out when/if you head off into the bushes.

  3. Paul says:

    Thanks for the answer. I’ve been gathering info on snakes while stealth camping and such, haven’t had much luck, while there seems to be more info available with other wild animals, which actually don’t concern me as much. I guess it’s something I should keep an eye on.. Hoping that they won’t come into my tent while sleeping lol Thanks!

  4. Paul says:

    Haha thanks for the encouragement.. I currently live in Northern California, and would like to bike tour along the PCH soon.. This will be my first “official” bicycle touring..! I’ve done a mini-tour before overseas, with a friend, but didn’t camp out, so it will be my first time staying out too.. Before heading down to So. Cal., I’m thinking of hitting a couple of local spots overnight as “training.” Btw, your site has been such a great source of info., not to mention it’s very encouraging and entertaining to see your own tours.. Thanks!

  5. Bicycle Touring Pro says:

    WHOOOOOO, You’re right! That isn’t a snake. Ha! It is a European Glass Lizard.

    When I first saw these things in Croatia I thought it looked strange, but without any visible legs, I didn’t know what else it could be… so I called it a snake. Thanks so much for letting me know what it actually is. Very interesting. This is why I like to travel. You learn so much! Thanks again.

  6. Patrick says:

    Dear Darren,

    I read your artikel snake hunting in croatia.
    During my walking trip on the island of Losinj I saw the brown snake wich is on the foto.Can you tell me the name of that snake please

    Thank you



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