Coluber ravergieri (Menetries 1832) Ravergier’s Snake
Hebrew name: זעמן מזרחי, za’aman mizrahi
Global Threat: NE – Not Evaluated
Regional Threat: CR (B) – Critically Endangered
Distribution area: The Middle East, Turkey and Armenia up to the Caucasus. In our area it is found on Mt. Hermon, in Syria, Lebanon and there is one record from northern Jordan (Disi et al. 2001). It was found twice in the high altitude area on Mt. Hermon (Werner 1990), where it apparently can be found at altitudes above 1500 m. Coluber ravergieri is very similar to the Asian racer (Coluber nummifer) and it is difficult to know to which species the data in the literature refers (Sivan & Werner 1992). The southern distribution limit of the species is in Israel.
Historic distribution: Unknown.
Typical Habitat: In Israel the species is found in high mountain rocky habitats with cushion plants. In other parts of its distribution area it inhabits a variety of Mediterranean habitats, particularly in mountainous rocky areas.
Threat and Disturbance Factors:
1. Tourist development on Mt. Hermon.
2. Military infrastructure (opening routes, expanding outposts). Unnecessary bulldozer use by the Israel Defense Forces
3. Illegal collecting by reptile fans and for the pet trade.
Population Size: Unknown.
Fluctuations in Population Size: The species’ distribution area in Israel decreases with additional military or civilian development activity on Mt. Hermon.
Isolation Between Subpopulations: Unknown.
Necessary Steps for Species Preservation:
1. Preventing further tourist development on Mt. Hermon.
2. Reducing military bulldozer activity and planning it in cooperation with the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority.
3. Intensifying supervision and enforcement by the Nature and Parks Authority on building, road construction and earthworks on Mt. Hermon.
4. Basic research on the life history of C. ravergieri in nature in order to determine additional disturbance factors and necessary conservation steps.
5. Examining the effect of grazing on C. ravergieri and its habitat to determine the amount of grazing necessary to preserve the species.