Cat Snake

Telescopus fallax


Мачја змија


Gjarpri laraman

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Not evaluated Data deficient Least concern Near threatened VULNERABLE Endangered Critically endangered Extinct in the wild Extinct
Assessment info
Habitat and Ecology
Use and Trade
Conservation Actions


Scientific name

Telescopus fallax


(Fleischmann, 1831)


Ailurophis vivax Bonaparte, 1837; Coluber carneus Dwigubsky, 1832; Coluber vivax Fitzinger, 1826; Tarbophis fallax Fleischmann, 1831; Tarbophis savignyi Boulenger, 1896; Trigonophis iberus Eichwald, 1831

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

VU – Vulnerable, B1ab(i,ii,iii)+2ab(i,ii,iii)

Date assessed

November 2019


Sterijovski, B.

Arsovski, D.


Ajtic, R.




Hofman, M.P.G.


The species exhibits quite small area of occupancy (AOO; 48km2) and extent of occurrence (EOO 2.220km2) values, which would qualify it for the Endangered category, but are to certain extent a consequence of its notoriously elusive nature. Nevertheless, in North Macedonia the Cat Snake is at one of the northern edges of its distribution range and some of its habitats are under threat from agricultural intensification, thus despite its elusive reputation, extremely low numbers of observations (only 22 sightings since the 1920s, 15 of which during intensified national field effort since 2009) are very likely also a consequence of severe fragmentation and low population sizes at the margins of its distribution. Even so, due to possible regional rescue effects via the Strumica and Vardar river valleys from Bulgaria and Greece, respectively, its assessment has been downlisted to the Vulnerable category. It should be noted that in Bulgaria the species is also assessed as Vulnerable following a similar rationale (Beshkov 2015). Globally and in Europe, this species has been assessed as Least Concern.


Current population trend



In North Macedonia the population size is not accurately determined. Generally, it is considered common in the Balkan Mediterranean (Agasyan et al. 2009). Field data implies the species is rare in North Macedonia. This might be a consequence of the elusive nocturnal nature of the snake, but can also reflect the notion that local T. fallax populations inhabit one of the northern edges of the species’ distribution range. Finally, its population trend is unknown, and inferences of severe fragmentation cannot be made.

Habitat and Ecology



Habitat and Ecology

Almost completely crepuscular or nocturnal (Speybroeck et al. 2016). This species is mostly found amongst warm rocky or stony areas in shrubby landscapes. It can also be found in open or degraded woodland, among old walls and ruins and sometimes close to human habitation (Agasyan et al. 2009). Mating usually occurs in May and females lay up to nine eggs in July.

Use and trade

Use and trade

Individuals are sometimes spotted as captive-bred by hobbyists and distributed within the hobbyist community.



It is mainly threatened by habitat loss due to intensification of agricultural practices and infrastructure development for tourism and urbanization. As is the case with all snake species in North Macedonia, it is often persecuted by humans. Additionally, as a generally crepuscular/nocturnal species it is attracted to warm asphalt roads leading to increased road mortality.

Conservation actions

Conservation actions

It is listed on Annex II of the Bern Convention and on Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive. Nationally it is on the list of protected wild species.



Sillero, N., Campos, J., Bonardi, A., Corti, C., Creemers, R., Crochet, P.-A., Crnobrnja-Isailović, J., Denoël, M., Ficetola, G.F., Gonçalves, J., Kuzmin, S., Lymberakis, P., de Pous, P., Rodríguez, A., Sindaco, R., Speybroeck, J., Toxopeus, B., Vieites, D.R., Vences, M. 2014. Updated distribution and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles of Europe. .p 1-31.

Speybroeck, J., Beukema, W., Bok, B., and van der Woort, J. 2016. Field Guide to the Amphibians & Reptiles of Britain and Europe Bloomsbury London . .p/.

Sterijovski, B., Tomović, L., Ajtić, R. 2014. Contribution to the knowledge of the Reptile fauna and diversity in FYR of Macedonia. .p 83–92.

Uhrin et al. 2016. Distribution updates to amphibian and reptile fauna for the Republic of Macedonia. .p 201-220.

Beshkov, V. 2015. Red data book of the republic of Bulgaria. Animals. .p/.

Gasc, J-P., Cabela, A., Crnobrnja-Isailović, J., Dolmen, D., Grossenbacher, K., Haffner, P., Lescure, J., Martens, H., Martinez-Rica, J.P., Maurin, H., Oliveira, M.L., Sofianidou, T.S., Veith, M., Zuiderwijk, A. 1997. Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica & Museum Nationall d’ Histoire Naturelle (IEGB/SPN). Paris. .p 496.

Agasyan, A., Avci, A., Tuniyev, B., Crnobrnja-Isailović, J., Lymberakis, P., Andrén, C., Cogalniceanu, D., Wilkinson, J., Ananjeva, N., Üzüm, N., Orlov, N., Podloucky, R., Tuniyev, S., Kaya, U., Böhme, W., Ajtić, R., Tok, V., Ugurtas, I.H., Sevinç, M., Crochet, P.-A., Disi, A.M.M., Hraoui-Bloquet, S., Sadek, R., Werner, Y., Haxhiu, I. 2009. Telescopus fallax. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. .p/.