A captured horseshoe snake. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter

Calls have been made for the declaration of the horseshoe whip snake to be declared an invasive species in “all the islands, not only in the Canary Islands and the Ibiza, but in all the Balearics”.

The XVII Luso-Spanish Congress and XXI Spanish Congress of Herpetology, reptiles experts stressed that the horseshoe snake “behaves as an invader”.

They now intend to make a formal request to the Ministry of Ecological Transition for its inclusion in the catalogue of invasive species in all the islands.

The horseshoe whip snake (Hemorrhois hippocrepis) is a species of snake in the family Colubridae. The species is native to southwestern Europe and northern Africa.

Related news

Adults may attain a total length (including tail) of 1.5 m (5 feet). Its body is slender, and its head is wider than its neck. The eye is large, with a round pupil, and with a row of small scales below it.

The smooth dorsal scales are arranged in 25-29 rows, and the ventrals number 220–258. Dorsally, it has a series of large spots which are either blackish or dark brown edged with black.

There is a series of alternating smaller dark spots on each side. The lighter ground colour between the spots may be yellowish, olive, or reddish. The dark spots are closely spaced, giving the appearance of a dark snake with a light pattern resembling a chain or a series of X's.

There is a light horseshoe-shaped mark on the neck and back of head. Since the early 2000s it has been reported from Balearics.

It could have been introduced there by way of old olive trees imported from mainland Spain. The species is thriving there and becomes larger than on the mainland.