Mediterranean Giant Snake

Large Snake of Southern Europe.

Variant name: Coiovia.

Physical description: Length, 6—33 feet. Green.

Distribution: Southern Spain; southern France; northern and central Italy; Greece; Serbia.

Significant sightings: On July 22, 1969, a 7-foot, green snake caused a traffic accident when it crossed a road near Chinchilla de Monte Aragón, Albicete Province, Spain.

A 6-foot snake with a huge head was seen several times on a farm in Orihuela, Alicante Province, Spain, in June 1970.

A monstrous serpent with a mane and a head like a baby's was seen in July 1973 near Aceuche, Cáceres Province, Spain.

Snakes up to 33 feet long have been seen on Ovcar Mountain near Cacak, Serbia. Near Ivan-jica in the summer of 2000, a bus had to stop because a 33-foot snake was crossing the road.

Possible explanation: Stray specimens of the poisonous Montpellier snake (Malpolon mon-spessulanus), a gray, brownish, or olive-colored colubrid snake that can attain a length of 9 feet. It lives along the coasts of Spain, southern France, and Liguria in Italy; in North Africa from Morocco to Tunisia; and in Cyprus, Greece, and the Balkans. However, it may be expanding its range.

Sources: Ulrich Magin, "European Dragons: The Tatzelwurm," Pursuit, no. 73 (1986): 16-22; Bernard Heuvelmans, "Annotated Checklist of Apparently Unknown Animals with Which Cryptozoology Is Concerned," Cryptozoology 5 (1986): 1-26; Paolo Cortesi, "The Big Serpent," INFO Journal, no. 71 (Autumn 1994): 49-50; Marcus Scibanicus, "Strange Creatures from Slavic Folklore," North American BioFortean Review 3, no. 2 (October 2001): 56-63, http://www.

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