“Strange creature”: how the newly discovered rat snake amazes science

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A strange animal that had been seen on a few occasions had never been identified until now, when a group of experts managed to detect what was the mysterious creature they found hidden in the middle eastern mountains and that he had managed to go unnoticed.

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A team of scientists from Slovakia, Israel and Russia recognized a new species snake, one of the rarest of the western Palaearctic. It is currently classified as “in danger of extinction”as it is located in a politically unstable region.

According to a study published in Scientific reports“He first register well verified” of a “rare” reptile. 1967. Since then, the animal has been seen sporadically but has been routinely misidentified, the researchers explained.

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“Elaphe druzaei” How is this rat snake

Since ancient times, the rat snakes have appeared in human culture, mythsTHE medicinal and the religionsupports the study.

Especially on three species of rat snakes, E. quaturorlineata, Zamenis longissimus (previously E. longer) AND situla Z (previously elaphe situla), it was believed that protected people of disease and venomous snakebites, argues the aforementioned scientific paper.

Now, after collecting this “disparate information” from several museums and obtaining several DNA samples, researchers have discovered that the unknown creature was a new species: the Levantine rat snake or Elaphe druzei.

This rat snake can measure more than 1.5 meters.  Photo: Nature.com

This rat snake can measure more than 1.5 meters. Photo: Nature.com

Yes, the researchers called it “Elaphe Druzi” OR “Serpent of the East” in honor of druseA ethnoreligious group considered peaceful and highly cultured, living in the same region as the species, the mountains of northern Israel, southwestern Syria and Lebanonreported RT based on the report.

According to the publication, the new species, whose identification was possible thanks to the combination and study of genetic, morphological, biogeographic and ecological data, It can measure more than 1.5 meters.

Although a large and morphologically distinctive species, in its natural environment it has the ability to do so blend in and go unnoticed.

As described, the Levantine Rat Snake has a solid black head with a yellowish body and is stamped with “dark brown oval spots”. Also, males grow larger than females.

In detail, the experts have documented various color variations. Photos show that the snakes on Israeli-controlled Mount Hermon are from yellow and white colorwhile the serpents of Lebanon are of Orange.

The Eastern snake is diurnal, can be found in landscapes with abundant vegetation, and has been observed in the flooringbushes, climb trees and often near streams.

Sure, it does not pose a danger to humansbecause it belongs to the genus ‘lafe’ which includes 17 species of Eurasian snakes “charismatic and great”it is harmless it does not bite and is not poisonousreport the site.

But what made it remain unknown for so long? He “secret lifestyle”THE “rarity” and the “isolation” of this creature, as well as the difficulties researchers encounter in accessing its habitat.

Due to its characteristics, this species of snake needs to be protected.  Photo: Nature.com

Due to its characteristics, this species of snake needs to be protected. Photo: Nature.com

A species in need of “urgent strict protection”

Due to all these factors, according to scientists, the big snake could be considered in danger all over the worldhim, and they assure that he needs “urgent and strict protection”.

Added to this is the fact that its area of ​​distribution is in a politically unstable regionwhich makes it even more difficult to investigate the rat snake.

Source: Clarin

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