The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

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Frogs & snakes in my French garden

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the wildlife at Lou Messugo but not for the lack of it, far from it, this summer has been all about snakessssssss and pretty green frogs.  I guess that could be a bit of an exaggeration as the summer hasn’t really been all about these creatures, but in terms of wildlife seen in the garden recently, these two have featured.

rainette meridionale stripeless tree frog

Let’s start with the pretty one:  we recently had to rescue a gorgeous little green frog from the swimming pool.  It appeared to have jumped in for a swim but couldn’t get out.  Luckily, being so aesthetically pleasing none of us minded the idea either of it in the pool or actually handling it. (Another story altogether when the beast in question was large, grey and covered in warts….)

saving tree frog from pool

I’d never seen a frog like this before in France and thought it looked very tropical.  The last (similar) one I’d seen was in Mullumbimby, in Northern NSW Australia, in the late 80s (oh dear that’s going back a bit and I only remember it because it startled me in the shower!)  But it turned out to be quite simply a tree frog, a species surprisingly common in Europe.  This one is a Stripeless Tree Frog (Hyla Meridionalis) or Rainette Meridionale in French found along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts in France.  The pads on its fingers and toes allow it to climb in trees and other vegetation (and along with its startling colour are also what give it that exotic tropical look I reckon).

tree frog in pool

Now for the other wildlife spotted in the garden this summer, decidedly less jolie and undoubtedly less popular, I know plenty of people hate snakes or fear them but I’m not one.  I’ve always been fascinated by them ever since I tracked a python to its hole with my dad in what was then known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, now Keoladeo National Park, in Rajasthan, India, aged somewhere around 6-8.  

snake at Lou Messugo

The snakes in our garden aren’t anything like as big, dangerous or interesting as that python, but I still get a thrill when I see one.  It’s hard to get good photos of them as they tend not to hang around for long and consequently it’s not easy to identify them properly but I’m quite sure they’ve all just been regular grass snakes.  Having not seen a snake for quite some time, the last couple of months have proved rather fruitful in serpent viewing:  we first spotted this long one slithering across the lawn (photos above and below), undisturbed by anyone, just out exploring while we ate lunch en famille nearby.  I then saw one wrapped around a flowerpot on the front steps and the little son found one on the lid of the garbage bin a couple of evenings ago when I sent him out with the rubbish.  Along with the one I saw while camping at the Gorges du Verdon, that makes 4 in a short space of time.  Pas mal!

spot the snake

Can you spot the snake in the photo above?  Look hard, it's there!  What do you think of the latest wildlife sightings at Lou Messugo?  Do you like frogs and snakes....or is that a really silly question?!


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wildlife in my garden








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Tagged in: garden wildlife


  • Guest
    Rosie @ Green Rosie Life Saturday, 08 October 2016

    I love both although I have to say that the grass snake that took up residence in my polytunnel one year was HUGE and did make me jump a few times. It lived in, what I assume, was a mouse hole under the leeks in there but I never found out if the dead leeks (caused by some-one eating the roots) were a victim of the mice or the snake. Love your little green frog too - we don't get them in Normandy as far as I know although we do get wonderfully exotic looking salamanders. Thank you so much for adding some Provençal wildlife to #AnimalTales this week and here's hoping you'll see more wildlife soon at Lou Messugo.

  • Guest
    Rosie (GreenRosieLife) Monday, 10 July 2017

    Lovely to revisit this post and thank you for adding it to the 100th #AnimalTales. Any more wildlife updates from down south?

  • Guest
    Ersatz Expat Sunday, 02 October 2016

    What a beautiful frog. Thank goodness you were able to rescue it before the chlorine hurt it. The only snakes I have ever seen in France are adders, I nearly stepped on one once while hiking in the Massif Central, he was sunning himself on a rocky path and I looked down just in time to save him from a nasty shock and me from a nasty bite.

  • Guest Thursday, 29 September 2016

    Frogs are great

  • Guest
    chickenruby Thursday, 29 September 2016

    Hubby spotted a snake in the garden once in South Africa so panic followed until we realised he'd had a few drinks and was actually pointing at a BBQ tool in the grass. We also used to get frogs in our pool, but hooked them out with a net, they were the horrible warty type ones

  • Guest
    Debbie Wednesday, 28 September 2016

    Hi Pheobe, I'm like you and find wildlife fascinating. Frogs and snakes don't bother me in the least, although I keep a respectful distance from snakes if I'm not sure. To be honest they usually make a hasty retreat themselves. Where Mum and Dad lived on the island it wasn't unusual to see and hear little green tree frogs, probably because their landlord used to water the grass so much it was like bog land (they had a natural well).

    I think I can just about make out the snake in your photo. It looks like itv wasn't planning on hanging around for a close up!


  • Guest
    Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures Tuesday, 27 September 2016

    What a pretty frog! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    Hopping over from Animal Tales

  • Guest
    Leta Tuesday, 27 September 2016

    Stunning frog, it does indeed look tropical. I'm quite happy with snakes and frogs, as long as they are a fair distance away from me! ;-) #AnimalTales

  • Guest
    Catherine Thursday, 22 September 2016

    I don't like snakes at all. Little green frogs are sweet but toads, crapeaux give me the creeps. I have seen huge toads at Lou messugo but luckily never a snake.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 26 September 2016

    I'm with you on the toad front Catherine! And we sure do get a lot in spring.

  • Phoebe
    Phoebe Sunday, 18 September 2016

    We have a couple of vipers in our garden in northern France (and plenty in our paddocks at home in Australia). Being Australian we have a healthy respect for snakes, especially those which are venomous. The artisans working on our house will not go near the garden since we told them bout our co-inhabitants! I occasionally find frogs lurking about after heavy summer rains. We have yet to experience spring or winter in France and my husband has never experienced the beauty of a French Autumn.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 26 September 2016

    I too (as an Aussie) have a healthy respect for snakes but they just don't give me the willies like spiders or insects do! I wouldn't like to have vipers in the garden, where abouts in Northern France are you Elizabeth?

  • Guest
    Darcey Friday, 16 September 2016

    When in Cagnes Sur Mer earlier this summer, we had a visit from the same type of frog. We were getting ready for bed and looked down and there it was sitting on the bed! We escorted it back to the garden outside :)

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 26 September 2016

    How funny that it came into your bedroom! Lucky you saw it before you went to sleep and it jumped on your bed!

  • Guest
    Richard Friday, 16 September 2016

    That looks mighty like the tree frogs that used to live and peep in our garden in Barbados. And fancy Bharatpur changing its name. Why bother, when it was already world famous as a bird sanctuary?

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 26 September 2016

    I can't imagine why it changed name Richard! I know it looks like the Bajan frog but it doesn't have the same wonderful peep, I'd love to have that sound in our garden here.

  • Guest
    Multifarious Meanderings Friday, 16 September 2016

    Aw, what a beautiful frog! We have a nurse toad living in pour fish pond - not half as exotic. I can't see the snakes well enough to ask PF (our resident biologist) what they are. We have three pythons at home - they never fail to terrify visitors who I lose en route and find glued to the wall in terror as they eyeball the tank.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 26 September 2016

    I know the photos are terrible of the snake, but it is definitely a grass snake, nothing more sinister.

  • Guest
    Ruth Friday, 16 September 2016

    We saw a bright green frog like that in Italy, under the table where we were having dinner in the garden. We were a bit anxious that it was some toxic stowaway from the Amazon rainforest (never being one to jump to conclusions, me!) so drew our legs well up. More reassured now!
    Also, one of our cats has taken it upon himself to bring us a "toad du jour" from our garden - usually alive and whole, occasionally neither.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 26 September 2016

    I love your conclusion Ruth! Why couldn't it be a stowaway from the Amazon? That's much more exciting that a local inhabitant.

  • Guest
    Taste of France Thursday, 15 September 2016

    No snakes here. We had a huge toad. Really huge. It didn't even hop but waddled along like a fat cat. I was doing yoga next to the pool and in my peripheral vision spied something moving. The toad. We used to have lots of frogs in the nearby river that sounded like screaming girls all night, but the river dried up with the drought and it's eerily silent at night.
    There was a huge snake lying across the local jogging path. I threw some pebbles at it and it didn't move, so it was dead, but I was taking no chances, so I turned around. It lay there for days before someone or something got rid of it.

  • Guest
    Phoebe Monday, 26 September 2016

    Urgh I really don't like large toads and I can imagine you were quite put off your yoga! :o

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