Elaphe hohenackeri taurica (Werner 1898) Transcaucasian Rat Snake
Hebrew name: כרכן חלק, karkhan halak
Global Threat: NE – Not Evaluated
Regional Threat: CR (B) – Critically Endangered
Distribution area: Anatolia and Caucasus (Bouskila & Amitai 2001). In our area it is known from Lebanon, Syria and Mt. Hermon (Sivan & Werner 1992). It is rare in upper elevations of Mt. Hermon. The southern distribution limit of the species is in Israel.
Historic distribution: Unknown.
Typical Habitat: Rocky habitats on high mountains.
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. h. taurica in nature in order to determine additional disturbance factors and necessary conservation steps.
5. Examining the effect of grazing on the E. h. taurica and its habitat to determine the amount of grazing necessary to preserve the species.