Credit: Phillip Phillipou, TheTwinBros Photography
Reported by early taxonomists to be common in Cyprus, the endemic subspecies Cyprus Grass Snake (Natrix natrix cypriaca
) was thought to have been driven extinct by 1960. Only in 1992 were a small number rediscovered, localized to a small number of streams and dams where its main food source – frogs – are also found. As I understand it, they’ve been under threat from collectors in the past, but worse is the competition from the non-native trout
that have been introduced
in certain reservoirs for fishing.
Now the Cyprus Reptile Society is desperately trying to find support from the government for a captive breeding program.
It’s not clear what the snake breeding program will do to rescue the Cyprus Grass Snake – that is if it will be successful – because there have been a variety of fish species introduced illegally by fishermen. There aren’t many year-round lakes, reservoirs and streams in Cyprus anymore to begin with, and now those that exist are dominated by non-native species that are disrupting the local ecosystems.
For more: Cyprus Reptile Society
Photo credit: The Twin Bros Photography