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Photo credit: Gordon Johnson on Pixabay

Some weeks ago, in the Switzerland Forest on the edge of Tiberias, towards evening, we encountered this 'little' (1.3 meters long) creature. I'm not sure why we weren't afraid to approach, but for some reason it didn't seem dangerous. I was just about two meters away when I took this photo. Thinking about it afterwards, I decided that I was really very foolish – it could have been deadly poisonous. We had seen black whip snakes in the forest – they are two meters long or more. They're not poisonous but could nevertheless give a nasty bite. But what sort of snake was this, before us? When I got home, I felt inspired to write a poem, that explains further. 



Strolling in the woods late in the day,

The sun was setting,

Our shadows were lengthening,

And there, by the side of the path

A snake, still as could be.

Was it alive? Or was it dead?

Was it asleep?

Or just petrified and playing dead?

We approached.

Why weren't we afraid?

It didn't seem threatening,

But it could have been dangerous,

About to attack.

It could have been venomous,

A deadly poisonous snake.

Why weren't we frightened?


But what sort of snake?

It wasn't a viper. It wasn't a whip snake.

We researched with Google.

A legless lizard.

It was legless,

But was it a lizard?

Could this snake really be a lizard?

How cunning, how deceiving!

It wasn't dangerous,

About to attack.

It wasn't venomous,

It wasn't a poisonous, deadly snake.

But how sneaky, to look so snaky!

Julian Alper is an amateur photographer living in Tiberias, having made aliyah from Manchester, UK. He has a particular interest in photographing nature in Israel and blogging about what he sees. When not out and about with his camera he works as a Hi Tech Consultant. This is his website -  



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