Photo: Savvas Zotos

Large whip snake

Dolichophis jugularis

Class: Reptilia

Order: Squamata

Family: Colubridae



Probably the biggest snake in Europe with length up to 3 meters (although in Cyprus rarely we encounter a snake larger than 2 meters). The color pattern of juveniles and adults differ. Young individuals have olive green color with dark brown flakes in their back. While coming of age (3-4 years) this pattern is lost and individuals attain uniform black color. The abdomen is iridescent white, while the lower lateral surface of the head and neck may present yellowish or reddish colors. This species has a thick, muscular body, is very agile and has the ability to climb with great ease.

Basic biology:


Widespread on the island without preference for specific habitats. Hunts small mammals, birds, lizards or even other smaller snakes. The young individuals feed on large insects. Reproduction starts during late spring and clutches are laid during June-July. Each clutch has 6-18 eggs with 50mm length. Juveniles are approximately 28cm in length and are hatched in early September. 

Distribution at Cyprus:

From the coast to an altitude of 1700m.

Global distribution:

Greece (Dodecanese islands), south Turkey, Cyprus, coast of east Mediterranean until Iran.


Aglyphous - Non venomous


Common and widespread on the island

Protection status:


Map of confirmed presence:

Download the distribution of the species (kml format, Google Earth)