Since very recently, you can see a horseshoe whip snake (Hemorrhois hippocrepis) at the Mediterranean forest snake exhibit at the Zoo Terrarium. This snake can measure up to 1.80m long, although it is usually smaller, and its name stems from the horseshoe shape it bears on the back of its head.
Its status in nature is not critical, but it is protected by state and Catalan legislation because mankind’s actions are endangering its populations. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies it as a species whose status is of ‘Least Concern’ on its Red List of endangered species.
This quick snake generally inhabits dry and rocky sites with Mediterranean shrubs up to 600 metres of altitude. Its diet is made up of birds, lizards and small mammals and it hibernates for four to five months a year. Breeding season is in April and May, with females laying from five to nine eggs.
It is not a poisonous species and lives in hot regions in southwest Europe and North Africa. Near Barcelona we can find it on the sierra of Garraf. The specimen at the Zoo is from CRARC (Amphibian and Reptile Rescue Centre of Catalonia), and its presence here lets us understand our herpetological fauna better.