According to the results of research carried out in the Ainos National Park, there are eight species of reptile and one amphibian. The common toad (Bufo bufo) is the only species of amphibian that has been tracked down, whereas the reptile population is made up of one species of turtles (Testudo hermanni), three types of lizard (Algyroides moreoticus, Algyroides nigropuctatus, Podarcis taurica) and four species of snakes (Elaphe situla, Telescopus fallax, Coluber gemonensis, Vipera ammodytes). Apart from these, you can also see in the greater area of the National Park the Montpellier snake (Malpolo monspesulanus), two species of legless lizards (Ophisaurus apodus, Anguis cephallonicus) and the common green lizard (Lacerta trilineata).
Another species found in the Kefalonian National Park is the Holy snake or Virgin’s snake (Telescopus fallax). The photograph was taken during the celebrations of the 15th of August at the village Arginia, on the slopes of Ainos. During those days the snakes appear in the villages Markopoulo and Arginia among the ruins of the school and the old church dedicated to the Holy Virgin. The inhabitants, considering them holy, collect them and set them in front of the icon of the Holy Virgin.
Their discovery is announced by bell ringings so that everyone will know how many snakes were found in each village.
Their appearance is believed to be a good omen.
It means a good year, a profitable harvest, good luck, marriage for the unmarried girls e.t.c., while their absence means the opposite. After the 15th of August the villagers return the snakes to the place where they were found.