Each day we go out in search of Reptiles and Amphibians in various parts of Slovenia. One evening, we go bear-watching from a hide in the forest! Add a cave-expedition to see the rare Olm, the European Cave- salamander and you get the ideal tour for lovers of amphibians and reptiles …
Expect to be out all day. We hope for nice and sunny weather, which is great for reptiles and for us. But we are equally happy when it rains because this greatly increases our chance to see Fire salamanders! Expect long days and some evenings, in wonderful and diverse areas. But, you can also expect some mud and difficult, rocky terrain, because this is where we find most amphibians and reptiles.
Just one note: this is a nature-tour and not a collecting trip. We will ensure that we have permits to briefly handle animals for identification purposes, but it is not allowed to take any animals from nature.
edit 25.09.2018: Already four people have confirmed that they will join this tour and several more are considering it. This means that we have a sure going. Note that we have only a few places available (8 participants maximum). Please contact us when you are interested, so we can reserve a place for you!
Participants from any country are welcome. Please note that the fligt to Slovenia is not included in this tour. We do, however, arrange transport to and from the closest airport, Ljubljana Airport (Brnik), Slovenia.
Arrival and departure time will be different for participants from different countries, please contact us so we can arrange your transport from and to Ljubljana airport.
1195,- Euro per person, for a group of 5-8 participants.
We arrive at Ljubljana airport where we meet our local guide and tour organiser. Depending on our arrival time we may have a stopover on the way to our accommodation. Here, we can see the first amphibians and reptiles in Slovenia!
Imagine a large lake, where the water level changes from day to day. In summer it dries up, therefore, there are few fish. In springtime, the lake fills with water and becomes a heaven for frogs and toads. Along the shores, we find especially many Green frogs. Some weeks ago, countless Grass frogs and Common toads have spawned here and now, their tadpoles swarm in the lake. If we are lucky, we may find some newts as well (more newts later this week).
Expected species: : Bufo bufo, R. temporaria, Rana dalmatina, Pelophylax lessonae, P. kl. esculentus, P. ridibundus, Lissotriton vulgaris meridionalis, Triturus carnifex, Natrix natrix.
In the evening, we go bear-watching from a game-managers’ hide. For a description: see our Blog post on this subject.
Expected species: Ursus arctos, Vulpes vulpes, Columba palumbus, Glarrulus grandarius
The Olm (Proteus anguinus) is by far the most charismatic amphibian species in Slovenia. This large salamander (up to 35 cm) is entirely adapted to live in underground rivers and streams. It has almost no pigment and its eyes are reduced and invisible underneath its skin, as adaptations to life in total darkness. Most places where it occurs are inaccessible (networks of small underground streams where we can’t enter) or only accessible to licenced and experienced speleologists. Fortunately, nearby our accommodation, there is a cave which is easier to access. In the company of a local cave-guide, we will spend much of the day exploring this cave. Both the water level and the clarity in the cave are dependent on rainfall in the region. Under favourable circumstances, we may see quite many “baby dragons”.
In the remaining part of the day, we will visit a nearby rocky place which has a population of Nose-horned vipers, in the company of a local viper-expert.
Expected species: Proteus anguinus, Vipera ammodytes, Podarcis muralis, Iberolacerta horvathi, Lacerta agilis
Today, we go to the Tular Cave Lab:
The Italian Agile frog is a tiny, somewhat fragile-looking brown frog. It used to be common in all of northern Italy, between the Apennines and the Alps. This lowland region, known as the Po-Plane, is used for intensive agriculture now. Italian Agile frogs still live there but to see really strong, natural populations, you have to be in Slovenia. Reason enough to go southwest, to the habitat of the Italian Agile Frog!
Expected species: Rana latastei, R. dalmatina, Bombina variegata, Lissotriton vulgaris meridionalis, Triturus carnifex, Podarcis muralis, Algyroides nigropunctatus, Lacerta bilineata
The further you go south, the more reptiles you may see. So, today, we go to the Mediterranean coast of Slovenia. We expect sun, many flowers, butterflies and, of course, lizards and snakes!
Expected species: Podarcis siculus, P. melisellensis, P. m. muralis, P. m. nigriventris, Lacerta bilineata, Natrix tesselata, Hierophis carbonarius, Zamenis longissimus
We went West two days ago, South yesterday and today, we head East, in the direction of Croatia. Not far from the border, we stop at a special area. Here, we find a habitat type which has almost disappeared from Europe: Old Growth Flooded Oak Forest! This is by far the best place to search for amphibians with especially large numbers of Moor frogs, Yellow-bellied toads and newts! Later in the year, it can swarm with mosquitoes. Now, in spring, the mosquitoes are only a minor inconvenience.
Expected species: Rana arvalis, R. temporaria, R. dalmatina, Bombina variegata, Hyla arborea, Lissotriton vulgaris meridionalis, Mesotriton (Ichtyosaura) alpestris, Salamandra salamandra
Today we pack and, on the way to the airport, we make smaller stopovers when time permits.
Moderately difficult and occasionally demanding. During the tour, we will walk slowly and stop many times, but terrain can be difficult, rocky and occasionally steep, without real climbing. At other places, it may be muddy and we may encounter dense and thorny vegetation as well. Please make sure that you have good hiking shoes and sturdy trousers!
We will be out all day in practically any weather type and even sometimes at night. Be prepared for sunny summer days, rain and a cool cave.
During this tour, we stay in a countryside hotel or an agritourism, right in the middle of the area which we visit.
During this tour, we will use a van which has eight seats for participants and one for the driver. The tour guide will also be the driver of the van. This gives us a maximum of flexibility: how long we like to stay at each place, is up to us.
Participants should arrange the transport to Ljubljana airport or train station, where we will pick you up.