European cat snake

With the agility of a nimble climber, it effortlessly slithers up trees and through tangled vegetation

Guy Haimovitch

A slender and elusive nocturnal predator native to various regions across Europe, particularly in the Mediterranean. It is recognized for its capability to reach lengths of up to 1.2 meters (39 inches) and its distinct coloration, typically consisting of a light brown to gray base with a series of dark brown or black dorsal spots that may merge into bands.

This species exhibits remarkable physical and behavioral adaptations. When threatened, the European cat snake can flatten its body, giving the impression of being larger and more formidable to potential predators. This defensive display is complemented by its quick reflexes and agility, which it uses to escape threats and capture prey.

The European cat snake’s vision is one of its most notable features. Unlike many other snakes that rely on thermal cues or chemical signals, this species has eyes well-adapted to low-light conditions, allowing it to detect and hunt prey at night accurately. Its diet primarily consists of lizards and small rodents, which it hunts using a combination of stealth and visual acuity.

In terms of venom, while the European cat snake does possess venomous fangs, its venom is not typically harmful to humans and is more adapted for subduing small prey items. The snake delivers venom through a “chewing” motion, as its fangs are located at the back of the jaw (opisthoglyphous dentition).

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Albania
2008
Armenia
2008
Azerbaijan
2008
Bosnia And Herz.
2008
Bulgaria
2008
Croatia
2008
Cyprus
2008
Georgia
2008
Greece
2008
Iran
2008
Iraq
2008
Israel
2008
Italy
2008
Lebanon
2008
Malta
2008
Montenegro
2008
North Macedonia
2008
Russia
2008
Slovenia
2008
Syria
2008
Turkey
2008

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No