Large Whip Snake

Dolichophis caspius


Жолт смок


Shigjeta gjatë

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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

Dolichophis caspius


(Gmelin, 1789)


Coluber acontistes Pallas, 1814; Coluber bicolor Guldenstedt, 1801; Coluber thermalis Pallas, 1814; Coluber trabalis Pallas, 1814; Hierophis caspius Gmelin, 1779; Zamenis gemonensis Boulenger, 1893; Zamenis gemonensis ssp. caspius — Mehely, 1894

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

LC – Least Concern

Date assessed

November 2019


Sterijovski, B.

Arsovski, D.


Tomović, L.




Hofman, M.P.G.


Although the quality of the Caspian Whip Snake’s habitats have been observed to be decreasing, it is still very widely distributed across the country (AOO = 23.790 km2, EOO = 1.496 km2) and its populations are likely not fragmented. Additionally, it is present in all neighboring countries and can likely travel long distances (e.g. Gregory et al. 1987), which can facilitate rescue effects. Globally and in Europe it is assessed as Least Concern.


Current population trend



In North Macedonia the population size is not accurately determined. Likely the most common whip snake in the country. Seems particularly abundant in valleys up to 900 m asl. Observations within several monitoring studies (using line transects, Buckland et al. 1993) conducted during the past four years in the frame of EIA activities in the Strumica, Radovis, Shtip and Dojran regions suggest that this species’ population trends across North Macedonia are stable.

Habitat and Ecology



Habitat and Ecology

It is found in dry areas of open scrubland and woodland, steppe and other grassland, rocky hillsides, semi-desert, overgrown areas, vineyards, olive groves, rural gardens, stone walls and ruins. This species hibernates in large groups. It is active during the day in spring, while during hot summers it has two peaks of activity. Females lay eggs (6–18 eggs in the clutch) from middle of June to the beginning of July, with young appearing in the first part of September (Aghasyan et al. 2017, Speybroeck et al. 2016).

Use and trade

Use and trade

Individuals are sometimes spotted as captive-bred by hobbyists and distributed within the hobbyist community. Although this is not confirmed in official pet trades.
Is there harvest from captive/cultivated sources of this species? Unknown



As is the case with all snake species in Macedonia, it is often persecuted by humans, and can fall victim to road mortality. Also, habitat destruction is noted when installing different industrial infrastructures (such as mines). This was observed recently in Radovish area near Borov Dol (Sterijovski 2018). It may be particularly vulnerable during winter when it forms aggregations for hibernation (Aghasyan et al. 2017).

Conservation actions

Conservation actions

It is listed on Annex III of the Bern Convention and on Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive. On a national level 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

Micevski, B. 2015. Report of Biodiversity conditions of amphibians and reptiles of Ograzden Mt. 2014-2015 . Skopje. .p/.

Uzunova, D., Kitanova, D., Spirovska, M., Hristovski, S. 2015. Integral Report for the Project implementation. Final report of the project “Ecological data gap analysis and ecological sensitivity map development for the Bregalnica river watershed”. Skopje . .p/.

Sterijovski, B. 2018. Final report for monitoring. Maneko. Skopje. .p./.

Pharmachem. 2018. The Study on Biological Diversity in the Area of Sasa Mine – Makedonska Kamenica. Pharmachem Skopje. Skopje
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.

Buckland, S. T., Anderson, D. R., Burnham, K. P. and Laake, J. L. 1993. Distance Sampling: Estimating Abundance of Biological Populations Chapman and Hall. London. .p/.

Speybroeck, J. Beuckema, W., Bok, B., Voort, J.V.D. 2016. Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc London. .p/.

Aghasyan, A., Avci, A., Tuniyev, B., Crnobrnja-Isailovic, J., Lymberakis, P., Andrén, C., Cogalniceanu, D., Wilkinson, J., Ananjeva, N.B., Üzüm, N., Orlov, N.L., Podloucky, R., Tuniyev, S., Kaya, U., Böhme, W., Ajtic, R., Tok, V., Ugurtas, I.H., Sevinç, M., Crochet, P.-A., Haxhiu, I,, Sterijovski, B., Borkin, L., Milto, K., Golynsky, E., Rustamov, A, Nuridjanov, D., Munkhbayar, K. & Shestapol, A. 2017. Dolichophis caspius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. .p/.

Gregory, P. T., Macartney, J. M, Larsen, K. W. 1987. Spatial patterns and movements. Macmillan, New York, USA. .p 366-395.

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.