In 2021, I visited Croatia twice. The first time in April with Repti Planet and the second time when we went there for a family vacation. As a destination, we chose the small island of Šolta, one of the islands of Central Dalmatia, which also includes the more famous Brač. There are several reasons to go on holiday to Solta. If you do not want to spend X hours behind the wheel, you can easily get there by train, which goes directly from Prague to Split, where you change to the ferry. It is located only about 300m from the train station. It was forbidden to build hotels on Šolta, so there are only small apartments. Therefore, there is relatively quiet and plenty of space on the beaches. The third reason why a herpetologist could take his family here is the fact that, according to the available information, no systematic monitoring of reptiles has ever taken place on Šolta and it is therefore quite a mystery and a challenge what you can find here.
There are two species of geckos reported on the island – the Turkish gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) and the Moorish gecko (Tarentola mauritanica). During several night expeditions, I observed only Turkish geckos. However, at night I moved only around Nečujam and Tarentola could be in one of the larger villages. I searched in vain for a cat snake (Telescopus fallax), which occur on the surrounding islands, and I would assume them here as well. After the mentioned rainy night, I also found several individuals of the green toad (Bufotes viridis), which are probably the only amphibian species on Šolta. I visited almost all the water areas visible in the maps, but I did not observe any Pelophylax sp.
Of the small lizards, I met only Dalmatian wall lizards (Podarcis melisellensis) all over the island, rather sporadically and in a total of about 20 individuals. According to the findings on Balcanica.info, there is also a Blue-throated keeled lizard (Algyroides nigripunctatus) on the island, but I was not lucky enouhg to find it. On the southeast side of the island, I searched around large rock formations for the endemic Dalmatian rock lizard (Dalmatolacerta oxycephala), which is expected to occur here, given that it is quite common locally on the surrounding islands and on the mainland. Unfortunately, I was unlucky or I was not at the right place. The Italian wall lizard (Podarcis siculus) is either not present on the island or occurs only in some of the areas I have not visited.
I learned from the locals that glass lizards are quite common in Šolta. I was also lucky enough to find one living individual and several dead.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found a live snake. This is probably due to unsuitable weather and dense vegetation, which is harder to search through. Around the village of Grohote, I counted a total of 5 dead grass snakes (Natrix natrix). Later in the village of Gornje Selo an adult montpellier snake (Malpolon insignitus), which ate a rodent just before death.
Since I visited most of the water ponds, I would say that there is no pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) on the island. In the same way, I did not find any tortoises (Testudo hermanni). Even the locals did not confirm their occurrence to me. So they are present on the island either rarely or not at all. But Solta is not completely without turtles. In one of the lakes, I observed several individuals of non-native sliders (Trachemys scripta), represented in both the nominal subspecies scripta and the subspecies elegans with a red neck stripe.
I would definitely like to return to Šolta, next time perhaps in the spring months and search through most of the island. And if you ever go to Šolta in the future, please share your findings with me!
|Scientific name||Former findings||Found in 2021||Number of individuals||Location|
|Bufotes viridis||Balcanica.info, iNaturalist||Yes||5 adults, 20x metamorphs||Nečujam; Zátoka Jorja; Grohote; Gornje Selo|
|Pseudopus apodus||iNaturalist||Yes||1 live, 2 dead||Nečujam; Grohote|
|Podarcis melisellensis||iNaturalist, Balcanica.info||Yes||Cca 20||Nečujam, Gornje Selo, Grohote|
|Hemidactylus turcicus||iNaturalist||Yes||Cca 20||Nečujam|
|Malpolon insignitus||–||Yes||1 dead||Gornje Selo|
|Natrix natrix||–||Yes||5 dead||Grohote|