This species is listed as strictly protected under the Berne Convention. Despite its reputation, this species is generally lethargic, not at all aggressive, and tends not to bite without considerable provocation. If surprised, wild specimens may react in a number of different ways. Some remain motionless and hiss loudly, some hiss and then flee, while still others will attempt to bite immediately. It hibernates in the winter for a period of 2 to 6 months

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