This Short Amphibian and Reptile Tour is a perfect introduction to European reptiles and amphibians. During our tour we will see vipers, lizards, frogs. Part of our program is also a cave expedition to see Olm – the blind cave salamander endemic to Dinaric region. There is one thing that this tour it is not: this is not a collecting trip. All animals are staying where they belong, in nature.
Slovenia is situated right in the middle of Central Europe. What better place to get acquainted with the European herpetofauna? Short Amphibian and Reptile Tour is a private tour, the itinerary is provisional and can still be adapted to your wishes. Would you like to stay in Slovenia more days? See different species? Send us an enquiry. We’ll give a straight reply, also when your wish-list is kind of impossible. Short Amphibian and Reptile Tour is appropriate for participants with all levels of experience, but a reasonable physical condition is required. Our aim is to see wild animals in their natural habitat, when possible without disturbing them. Data which we collect will go to the Slovenian biodiversity database. In this way, they become available for nature conservation.
The tour is designed for small group of minimum 2 and maximum 8 participants, which gives best chances for observing animals with the least disturbance.During the Short Amphibian and Reptile Tour, we visit a different area each day. Shortly after breakfast, we depart from the accommodation. Slovenia is a small country, so our driving time is limited to 1–2 hours most of the days. At each destination, we stop close to the sites which we intend to visit, to maximise the time we spend in nature. We have lunch in the field (picnic), for this, we take everything we need with us in the van. Dinner is planned around 6.30 pm.
We stay at simple, but recently renovated accommodation, which has everything we need. We make long days. And we hope for some rain in the afternoon (this increases the chance to see Fire Salamanders). Sounds right? Just contact us and we will see what is possible.
We will pick you up at the Ljubljana Airport or if you arrive by train at the Ljubljana central station. If you arrive by car, we can meet near Cerknica in Southern Slovenia.
We recommend flying to Ljubljana (Brnik) airport, where we come to pick you up. Depending on the flight time, we have time for a first field-trip already on the arrival day. How about going to a habitat of the rare European Pond Terrapin? Afterwards, we head for our accommodation, where we have dinner and discuss the further planning.
Few Slovenian amphibians are so well known as the Olm: the blind cave-salamander of the Balkan region. Here, in Slovenia, we have some of the most famous populations. Today, we visit the place where we hope to see most of them, during an adventurous 4-hour cave expedition! Olms are highly sensitive to “above-ground amphibian diseases”. With our special interest in these animals, we are more likely than most to have visited areas with other amphibian species. As a precaution, we take extra care to disinfect our shoes/boots before we enter the cave.
In the afternoon, back in the daylight, we go search for lizards. We visit some special areas, which have small populations of Horvath’s Rock Lizard, as well as one of the southernmost populations of the Sand Lizard. Here, we may also see Green Lizards and Slow Worms.
With one hour of driving, we enter an entirely different climate-zone with different amphibian and reptile species! Close to the Slovenian coast, the climate is sub-mediterranean. Here, we make several stopovers throughout the day. We hope to see many lizards (Karst Lizard, Ruin Lizard, two subspecies of Wall Lizard, Green Lizard, Dalmatian Algyroides), some snakes (Dice Snake, Black Western Whip Snake, maybe others) as well as Yellow-Bellied Toads.
Slovenia is home to three viper species, of which we hope to see two. Vipers are venomous snakes and although the Slovenian species are usually not lethal, we have to treat them with respect. They are also incredibly beautiful animals and, with caution, it is often possible to photograph them in their natural habitat. Modern cameras have an excellent zoom-function which means that we can stay at a metre or more from the snakes, which is safe for both sides.
Depending on the time of our flight, we likely have time to visit Lake Cerknica. This large wetland area is an excellent habitat for European Green Frogs, Grass frogs, Agile Frogs and Common Toads. Here, we can also find one of their main predators: the Eastern Grass Snake. On sunny days, we may even be lucky to see a snake hunting frogs!
During the Short Amphibian Tour we won’t walk really far, but expect uneven, often rocky ground, some thorny vegetation and mosquitoes. Like reptiles, we are active in hot, sunny weather. However, again like reptiles, we may take a break in the Mediterranean afternoon. If we get a rainy day, we change the program accordingly and go to see Fire Salamanders! Expect to be on your feet and actively walking around for much of the day.
During the whole Short Amphiabian Tour we will stay in a local accommodation in the Notranjska (Inner Krain) region in Slovenia. This is the Karst area where the Olm lives. Prices are based on double or triple rooms.
Short Amphibian Tour is a private tour and all local transport in Slovenia is included in the price. We we will pick you up at the Ljubljana Airport. Please note that airline ticket not included in the price, but from several European countries there are cheap flights to Slovenia (Wizz Air from Brussels, London and Berlin, Easy Jet from London, Transavia from Amsterdam).
During this tour, we will either use a car or a van with eight seats for participants and one for the driver. The tour guide will also be the driver. This gives us a maximum of flexibility: how long we like to stay at each place, is up to us.