A captured horseshoe snake. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


The Institut d’Estudis Eivissencs (Ibiza Studies Institute) has demanded that widespread, strategic trapping be carried out with a massive distribution of traps and mice to combat the presence of snakes on Ibiza.

In a statement, the organisation said that after 20 years of the presence of invasive snakes in Ibiza it is time to “reflect and rethink the situation”.
They explained that they have repeatedly demanded “forceful” action from the government in “essential” aspects in order to establish an eradication plan. Among them, closing the door to invasive species by means of port controls.

They have recalled that this measure has been partly resolved with the Law for the protection of native fauna, which “is 20 years late and with few guarantees that it will be enforced”.
The IEE also calls for the establishment of trapping operations and requests the creation of reserve areas for lizards.

The Institut lamented that the actions of the public administrations “have not been sufficiently successful and by 2024 the situation is almost irresolvable”, affirming that the horseshoe snake is already present across Ibiza.
The organisation recalled how in 2019 an eradication strategy could have been established by mobilising the whole of Ibizan society to manage thousands of traps with a massive distribution of traps. The initiative, however, was hampered by the lack of traps.

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The IEE insists that it is up to the competent administration to manage this new reality on the island and that “if the snakes are here to stay, it is the administration that must take control”.
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.

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 become common in the Balearics. It could have been introduced in old olive trees imported from mainland Spain.