Elaphe quatuorlineata sauromates (Pallas 1814) Four-Lined Rat Snake
Hebrew name: כרכן קרינים, karkhan krinim
Global Threat: NE – Not Evaluated
Regional Threat: CR (B) – Critically Endangered
Distribution area: Most of Anatolia, in the eastern Balkan and in southwest Asia (Bouskila & Amitai 2001). Rare on the upper reaches of Mt. Hermon (Sivan & Werner 1992) and there is one observation from the Golan Heights, north of Quneitra (Tiedemann & Haupl 1978 in 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 or in natural woodland. 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 E. q. sauromates in nature in order to determine additional disturbance factors and necessary conservation steps.
5. Examining the effect of grazing on E. q. sauromates and its habitat to determine the amount of grazing necessary to preserve the species.