Caucasian sand boa

Caucasian sand boa / Eryx jaculus / بوا الرمال الغربية

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Status: Uncommon

The Caucasian sand boa belongs to the Boidae family in the Squamata order (suborder Ophidia). It is the representative of the Boidae family present in Palestine. The adult length is up to 80 cm (body + tail). Non-venomous snake with a thick body, small head and a short tail. The back is yellow or light brown with dark spots. The spots are located in a random manner. The scales on the head are larger than those on the back and the ventral scales are narrower. The tail ends abruptly and its scales are keeled. In some individuals the spots look like a path and therefore this snake is mistaken as the Palestine Viper. The females are larger than the males. In the end of the summer the female gives birth to more than 4 live young whose length is 14-20 cm. The Caucasian sand boa is mostly nocturnal and can be found in a variety of habitat such as loess, sand and heavy soils. The sand boa diet includes vertebrates, rodents, small birds and other reptiles. It has a unique way to catch its prey: it coils around the prey, constricting it. It inhibits the Mediterranean, northern Africa, eastern and southern Europe and some parts of Asia.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

In Palestine: It can be found in Mediterranean and semi-arid habitats.

Sites: Beitillu, Umm at-Tut, Wadi Al-Quff