40. The Black Whip Snake


The black whip snake (serp iswed) is one of four species of snakes living on the Maltese Islands. It is the largest of the four, and often reaches lengths of 100cm or more, though they never lose their slender build. Black whip snakes are also the most common and most widespread and occur on the three main islands, found in most habitats ranging from agricultural land to woodland.
They kill their victim by coiling themselves around it until it suffocates, after which they slowly swallow the prey whole. Like other reptiles, snakes prefer the warmer seasons and they often bask in the sun to render themselves active.
In the cooler seasons, snakes become sluggish, hide away in crevices and eat practically nothing. The black whip snake does not pose a threat to humans, as it is neither large nor venomous - on the contrary, as with the other snakes, it is considered beneficial to people, as rodents are among its favourite prey. Snakes are in fact protected under Maltese law.  

Copyright to Birdlife Malta.

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