The European cat snake or Cat snake (Telescopus fallax) sometimes called only cat snake is a somewhat venomous colubrid snake species found in several countries in the Caucasus and Mediterranean areas.
Their range extends from extreme northeastern Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, southern Montenegro, southern Bulgaria, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, and Israel in the south.
The species has been found from the Caucasus Mountains including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and southern Russia (Republic of Dagestan). It’s also found around the islands of Malta and Cyprus.
These cat snakes can be seen in a variety of habitats such as rocky terrain, woodlands, and even beaches normally with some clean or bush vegetation. They are found in residential areas near human habitations.
Other populations in its broad selection inhabit steppes, semi-deserts and sometimes on the edges of mountain forests. They are found at elevations up to approximately 6500 ft (2000 m). The cat snake is a climber and frequently found climbing walls or trees.
All these are small to medium snakes, with a slim and much more or less cylindrical body and a fairly short tail. The European cat snake grows to a maximum length of about 4 ft (120 cm) but on average they hit only about 24 inches (60 cm).
Their coloration varies with geographic variety and among specimens, fitting their surroundings to offer camouflage. They have a grey, tan or light background shade coated with crossbands or even darker blotches on the trunk.
The mind is flat, short, oval in form and distinct from the neck. Their dorsal scales are smooth and the ventral scales are all curved. They’ve fairly small to medium with vertical and elliptical pupils much like those of cats, hence the species name that is .
The European cat snake is an crepuscular and nocturnal species also while by day their pupils contract to narrow vertical slits at night that the pupils will expand to let more light in. They belong into the Cat snakes category, comprised of arboreal or even snakes at the family Colubridae.
The species and its subspecies are also known by other common names like the Soosan snake, Western Tiger Snake, Mediterranean Cat Snake, Caucasian Cat Snake, Many-scaled Cat Snake, Cretan Cat snake, Cat-eyed snake or just Cat Snake.
The European cat snake is considered only a mildly venomous snake species rather than dangerous to humans. This is a type of snake, using the grooved fangs found in the rear of the jaw.
They rarely sting and seldom inject venom in defensive snacks. Most likely its bite would cause only some minor pain and swelling, and if not properly disinfected eventually an illness.
The European cat snake principal supply of food are small geckos and lizards, but they eat also little mammals and even birds. Younger snakes may also eat invertebrates.
Their gentle venom is utilized more as a means of quieting the prey body allowing the snake to subdue it and not actually to kill the prey.
All these are oviparous snakes significance European cat snake females lay eggs in clutches ranging in 5 to 9 eggs. The eggs hatch in early fall or late summer.
The European cat snake is listed as a”Least Concern” species because of its wide distribution and presumed huge population in the wild. They also inhabit lots of protected areas.
Even thus they are occasionally murdered in some areas of its range where they’re confused with much more dangerous venomous vipers.
While in other regions they are threatened by habitat degradation and destruction due to urbanization and conversion of land to agricultural use. These snakes are victims of road mortality
The European cat snake was first described by Fleischmann in 1831. You will find 7 subspecies known.
Telescopus fallax fallax (Fleischmann – 1831) – Found in northeastern Italy, in several Greek islands such as Paros, Mykonos, Antiparos, Crete, Kalymnos, Samos, Kimolos, Milos, Corfu, Syros), Albania, coastal Croatia (including a few Adriatic islands), Slovenia, Herzegovina, Monte Negro, Macedonia, southern Bulgaria, Turkey, Malta, Cyprus, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Southern Russia, Armenia, Republic of Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Telescopus fallax iberus (Eichwald – 1831) – Found on Armenia, Azerbaijan, South Georgia, southern Russia, northern Iran, along with East Turkey.
Telescopus fallax intermedius (Gruber – 1974) – Located on Antikythira, a Greek island around the edge of the Aegean Sea.
Telescopus fallax multisquamatus (Wettstein – 1952) – Found on Koufonisia a Greek island.
Telescopus fallax pallidus (Stepanek – 1944) – This subspecies inhabits Crete, Gavdos, Elasa and Christiana islands.
Telescopus fallax syriacus (Boettger – 1889) – Located in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, southeast Turkey and northern Israel.
Telescopus fallax cyprianus (Barbour & Amaral – 1927) – This subspecies is found only in Cyprus.
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