The island’s reptiles are typical of the Western Cyclades, where two endemic reptile species, the lizard Podarcis milensis and the viper Macrovipera schweizeri, are the most likely to be seen. These are among Greece’s rarest endemic vertebrates.
The lizard, Podarcis milensis, is restricted to Kimolos, Milos, Polyaigos and Antimilos. It is nearly 20 cm long. The males are vivid in colour with light blue spots during the reproductive period, while the females are brown. You can see lizards almost everywhere, particularly in the walls.
The viper, nicknamed ‘therio’ (monster), is limited to the islands Milos, Kimolos, Polyaigos and Sifnos. It is brown and grey and about one metre long. Its head does not have the characteristic ridge of other viper species. It is worth noting that it is a shy creature which will usually flee as soon as it senses a human presence. They are, however, venomous and you should be careful not to step on one by accident. They can even be deadly for young children or allergic people. During spring and autumn they lie on rocks in the sun, while in the summertime they spend most of the day hiding.
Photos: Benny Trapp
Photo cover: Nikos Chalkiopoulos