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Of Life and Death…

Life3 Life2Two of the most prolific forms of wildlife in Pissouri are the sparrows and the less- favoured group, snakes.

The SPARROWS are a constant in populated areas in most parts of the world, and Pissouri is no exception. The sometimes much maligned sparrows are everywhere where there are people, and gather in large family groups. When studied closely they have very unique and beautiful colouring patterns. They are very group-orientated, and will care for the very young and infirm within the group. In the spring it is not uncommon to see a single male feeding several youngsters, obviously not all its own offspring.

The SNAKES are numerous, although only one variety can be venomous enough to be considered dangerous to humans, the viper. Most of the others are constrictors, with very mild venom if any at all, however any bite can become infected and should be treated immediately. Fortunately for humans, we are a little large to arouse the hunting interest of the snake population. Most snakes in the world will flee if confronted by a human, and will only show aggression if cornered. Snakes will live and hunt in populated areas, as they afford good hunting grounds for small birds and rodents attracted to the prospect of easy food. Snakes do provide a good population control for small rodents such as mice and sometimes rats, but also provide a food source for animals such as hedgehogs, foxes, and birds of prey.

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The accompanying photos show a Coin snake taking a sparrow on a rooftop in Pissouri bay. The snake hid beneath a roof tile at a favourite gathering spot for the local sparrow youngsters. Known for its speed and strength, the sparrow had no chance. The Coin snake is a constrictor with no venom. Interestingly, at the time of the strike, the surrounding sparrows made noise, but did not leave the side of their companion until his death, and then continued to harass the snake throughout the drama until it made its escape from the rooftop.