Sand Boa

Eryx jaculus


Степски удав


Boa e reres

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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

Eryx jaculus


(Linnaeus, 1758)


Anguis jaculus Linnaeus, 1758; Boa turcica Olivier, 1801; Eryx familiaris Eichwald, 1831; Eryx turcicus Daudin, 1803

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

EN – Endangered, B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv)

Date assessed

November 2019


Sterijovski, B.

Arsovski, D.


Tomović, L.




Hofman, M.P.G.


The Sand Boa’s distribution is quite limited in North Macedonia (extent of occurrence [EOO] = 3.355 km2 and area of occupancy [AOO] = 44 km2) and within this area it seems severely fragmented. While this is likely a consequence of its elusive nature, all recent observations come south from Gradsko, whereas all observations to the north and east date from 1920-1989. The lower parts of Bregalnica river (northeast from Gradsko) have attracted very intense herpetological field effort in the past three years and no observations were made of the Sand Boa, despite ample suitable habitat. This suggests, that while in the south it could be less fragmented than what is apparent, in the northern and northeastern edge of its national distribution range great reductions in AOO and EOO can be inferred due to habitat destruction; moreover, these populations are at one of the northern edges of the species’ global distribution range, thus likely facing suboptimal environmental conditions. In sum, Macedonian populations of the Sand Boa are likely very low and additionally fragmented. This snake is also present in southern Albania, Bulgaria and Greece. There are geographical obstacles in the way of any rescue effects from Albania, but they could be possible from Greece and Bulgaria. Nevertheless, Bulgarian populations were assessed as Endangered due to similar threats as in North Macedonia (Beshkov 2015), and Greek populations are likely very similar, precluding any serious rescue effects form neighboring countries. The Sand Boa in North Macedonia has therefore been assessed as Endangered.


Current population trend



In North Macedonia the population size is not accurately determined. The extremely elusive nature of the species has prevented any population size estimations, but the lack of observations more recent than >30 years in the very north of its national distribution range (western edge, globally) imply a decreasing population trend and/or severe fragmentation.

Habitat and Ecology



Habitat and Ecology

Dry open habitats with loam soil and rocks. Also, often on arable land and even rocky slopes, provided there is enough loose soil. Females give birth to six to 20 live young between July and September (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.



Threatened by habitat loss through intensive agriculture and forestation of its preferred generally barren habitats with coniferous and acacia trees. All threats listed for this species are included in the list of priority threats to biological diversity in the “NATIONAL Strategy for biodiversity of Republic of Macedonia” (Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, 2018).

Conservation actions

Conservation actions

It is listed on Annex II of the Bern Convention and on Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive. Also it is listed on CITES Appendix II. 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.

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.

Ministry of environment and physical planning. 2018. National biodiversity strategy and action plan : for the period 2018 – 2023. Ministry of environment and physical planning. Skopje. .p 183.

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

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

Melovski, Lj., Markoski, B., Hristovski, S., Jovanovska, D., Anastasovski, V., Klincharov, S., Velevski, M., Velkovski, N., Trendafilov, A., Matevski, V., Kostadinovski, M., Karadelev, M., Levkov, Z., Kolchakovski, D. 2013. Regional division of the Republic of Macedonia for the needs of biological databases. .p 81-111.

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.