Russia, Smolenskaja oblast (300 km from Moscow)

Arthur

Arachnopeon
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Last week we went to Smolenskaja oblast for a couple of days. So I decided to take some photos of the place.
Enjoy!

click image to see larger


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Vipera berus was our neighbor, it lived in 5 meters of our house and we were trying not to disturb.
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Crotalus

Arachnoking
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Beautiful scenery and pictures! I love the #11 and of course the viper shot!
That area reminds me of Sweden
 

padkison

Arachnoangel
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Nice photos. Fascinating to see pictures like that and realize they were taken on the other side of the world, yet can look so familiar.
 

Gsc

Arachnobaron
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Great photos...is that viper a Vipera sp.??? Love seeing pictures of habitat in other counteries! Thank you for sharing.

***Update- Should have read...YES, you have it listed as Vipera berus. I was given a Vipera berus a few years back...mine was a grey color morph... Love the black coloration of the ones there!
 

Arthur

Arachnopeon
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There are lots of Vipera different color morphs, but I had only a couple of days for shoting, so you can see just this little black one instead of many other snakes that pottering round there.
Also there are lots of wood animals like wolves, wild boars, foxes, lynxes, elks and even bears in the area.
 

Arthur

Arachnopeon
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Nice photos. Fascinating to see pictures like that and realize they were taken on the other side of the world, yet can look so familiar.
The same thing when I look to your photos, but I'm not sure they are so familiar.
 

Crotalus

Arachnoking
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Any idea on the ratio between melanistic and normal colored vipers in the population around there?

/Lelle
 

Brian S

ArachnoGod
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Very interesting!! The habitat/scenery actually looks quite similar as here in Missouri. I always wondered what it looked like in Russia. In fact I was seriously considering going there in 2005 but went to Peru instead.
 

Arthur

Arachnopeon
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Any idea on the ratio between melanistic and normal colored vipers in the population around there?

/Lelle
That's a good question, Lelle!
There are 5 Vipera color morphs in Smolenskaja oblast: grey, black, brown, iron-yellow, orange-brown species. As I can figure it out, being protective colouring, it could depend mostly on that there is no dominant biotope they can live in. Everything is mixed: different ground types, also mixed forest. Even sand is colorful (white, red, orange, yellow, grey) and this, I think, is the most reason of that lighter coloring, because sand nevertheless has a priority there.

Very interesting!! The habitat/scenery actually looks quite similar as here in Missouri. I always wondered what it looked like in Russia. In fact I was seriously considering going there in 2005 but went to Peru instead.
As 4 me, I don't consider Russian tourist routes very interesting. Even Moscow citizens mostly don't know what Russian colour is...
Mmm.. How about this guy!?

I think that what tourists should see in Russia first, and than the Kremlin and so on.
 

Crotalus

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That's a good question, Lelle!
There are 5 Vipera color morphs in Smolenskaja oblast: grey, black, brown, iron-yellow, orange-brown species. As I can figure it out, being protective colouring, it could depend mostly on that there is no dominant biotope they can live in. Everything is mixed: different ground types, also mixed forest. Even sand is colorful (white, red, orange, yellow, grey) and this, I think, is the most reason of that lighter coloring, because sand nevertheless has a priority there.
That is a good variety of colors! Feel free to post more if you got pictures.
The different type of habitat might be a reason to a mix of coloration but the habitat doesnt seem to differ alot from typical berus habitat in Sweden so it might have other reasons.

The females are usually brownish while males black/silver or grey (this is for swedish populations - but I assume the same goes for the species over there). In Sweden you can also find bright blue individuals with a black zigzag band, these are mostly males.
It was thought that the further up north in Sweden you come the more black individuals in the localities you find since a black color heats up faster but this is not so.
There are less predation on berus the more north you get so maybe southern individuals benefit from the black color by heating up faster and therefor are less exposed to potential predators.
 

JungleGuts

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Nice pictures, Ive always wanted to go to Russia as I am fairly Russian. Perhaps my grandparents will take me some day:)
 

Arthur

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That is a good variety of colors! Feel free to post more if you got pictures.
The different type of habitat might be a reason to a mix of coloration but the habitat doesnt seem to differ alot from typical berus habitat in Sweden so it might have other reasons.

The females are usually brownish while males black/silver or grey (this is for swedish populations - but I assume the same goes for the species over there). In Sweden you can also find bright blue individuals with a black zigzag band, these are mostly males.
It was thought that the further up north in Sweden you come the more black individuals in the localities you find since a black color heats up faster but this is not so.
There are less predation on berus the more north you get so maybe southern individuals benefit from the black color by heating up faster and therefor are less exposed to potential predators.
Look maps.google.com ;) Smolenskaja oblast is opened for all winds, Sweden is not. That's the main I think.

Nice pictures, Ive always wanted to go to Russia as I am fairly Russian. Perhaps my grandparents will take me some day:)
Are your grandparents live in Russia?
It is a pity I have no grandparents in Illinois! )
 

dangerprone69

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Great pics Arthur! I'd love to see Russia myself one day. Some friends of mine did a tour of the Baltic a few years back- St. Petersburg as well as Latvia, Finland and Sweden.
 

Crotalus

Arachnoking
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Look maps.google.com ;) Smolenskaja oblast is opened for all winds, Sweden is not. That's the main I think.
Theres a wide variaty of habitat in Sweden, not just forest (where you dont find berus anyway)
 

Arthur

Arachnopeon
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Theres a wide variaty of habitat in Sweden, not just forest (where you dont find berus anyway)
Oh my Gud, I know that! But Sweden is nearly peninsula, Smolenskaja oblast is not. So in one biocenose we have different animals from different natural zones.
 

Crotalus

Arachnoking
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Oh my Gud, I know that! But Sweden is nearly peninsula, Smolenskaja oblast is not. So in one biocenose we have different animals from different natural zones.
So you saying despite same habitat you still have other color variations that Sweden dont because Sweden is a peninsula? I doubt that sorry.
Over and out.

/Lelle
 

M.F.Bagaturov

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hI Lelle.

As You may know Vipera berus here in Russia has definately a lot of color forms...
It is interesting that some area has a lot of melanistic V. berus together with the usual greyish color form even in the lowlands...
Sure, some are more melanistic portion of the population raises than You go up the above see level.
But V. berus doesn't go much the mountain... so melanistic is rather common in many areas.
As for the different coloration and patterns - sure, they're more than in Sweden, but I think due to much bigger and wide distribution. That's it :)
 
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