About the snakes that can be found in France

The purpose of these fact pages is to provide basic information for everyday use about the species of snakes in France and where they are to be found.

When it comes to the subject of snakes there is often an enormous amount of fear, misunderstanding and dislike from all sections of the community and they are frequently persecuted. Snakes, certainly in France, are generally harmless with one or two exceptions and even these would only be really dangerous to some susceptible people. Snakes are not normally easy to approach and will often flee as a person approaches, I have great difficulty observing them even when “creeping around”. Phobias are understandable but however much you may dislike or fear them it's really important to understand that Snakes play an important role in our environment being both predator and prey, without them many other species would suffer or as in the case of the Short toed eagle not even be able to breed here. Their role as predator is described in the species lists, but it is equally important to realise that they also provide food for many species of bird and mammal; Harriers, Falcons, Herons, Magpies, Owls, Eagles, Foxes, Marten, Wild Boar and even frogs are some of the species which profit from "having a bit of snake" in their diet.

Show a bit of caution when moving objects which are possible hiding places, don’t plunge your hand into the water meter box or other inspection point without first checking that it is empty and don’t walk around where you can’t see properly with bare feet and legs. Log piles are a frequent hiding place - even in winter.


Should you receive a bite from an Asp Viper or Adder don't panic.

You can call any of the emergency numbers for help.

Dial.   15 for SAMU.   17 for Police.     18 for Pompiers. 

Many defensive bites are "dry" or have little venom actually released, however medical assistance should always be sought due to the risk of infection.

Your pets and animals are also vulnerable to snake bite, if you suspect that your animal has been injured by a snake contact your vet without delay.

The regional information gives the main areas of distribution, species may be found outside of these areas perhaps as a result of accidental or deliberate transportation.