This was a very short trip with few species founded but a wonderful landscape and nature to experience. The Alps has at least two salamanders with limited distribution, among witch one occur in Switzerland, the Alpine Salamander (Salamandra atra). In the high mountains you also can found two vipers, the Adder (Vipera berus) and the Asp Viper (Vipera aspis).
I spent four days in the Jungfrau Mountains around Grindelwald in south Switzerland. The village is situated around 900 meters above sea level with lovely meadows and forests on the impressive slopes up to 4000 meters in the south. This is a very popular place for tourists and can be quite crowded in summer. This also means that the area is very easy reached with several mountain trains, cable cars, ropeways and a lot of well signed trails. My first excursion went to the lower Grindelwald glacier. I took the ropeway up to 1350 meters and walked on the trail up to the mountain cabin. On the trail about 500 meters before the cabin I found an Alpine Salamander (Salamandra atra) on the path. It was in the afternoon and the sun was shining. The animal was quite active and walked all the time I studied it. The color was totally black and the size 12-13 centimeter.
The second day I made a walk from Männlichen 2250 meter above sea level to Wengen and on the meadow 500 meters southwest of Kl. Schleidegg I found three Wall Lizards (Podarcis muralis) on the top of a turf. It was cloudy and not very warm and I was surprised to find them out. Maybe the turf was producing heat or had collected sun heat earlier in the day.
The third day I made a walk in the mountains east-northeast of Grindelwald from Grosse Schleidegg to Bachalpse and then down to Grindelwald. Just some 50 meters from the bus stop at Grosse Schleidegg I found a dead alpine salamander on the trail/road. On the way down from Bachalpse in the nice valley the trail passed a small pond about half an hour from the lake. In the pond were several salamanders (at least five) and a big frog. I guess the frog was a Common Frog (Rana temporaria) but the legs were quite long. I did not get very close to it. I managed to catch one salamander and got it to be a Alpine Newt (Mesotriton alpestris). I searched for Asp Viper witch I have never seen but without luck. Something has to be saved for the next time….
30/7 2004 /Per Blomberg
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