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Citation: Midtgaard, Rune. RepFocus - A Survey of the Reptiles of the World. (www.repfocus.dk).
Latest update: October 31st, 2023.

Taxonomy of the family Colubridae
Bibliography of the genus Telescopus
Biodiversity of the family Colubridae


Afro-Asian Cat Snakes

Westliche Katzennattern

Vestlige Kattesnoge

1830 Telescopus Wagler (type species: #Coluber obtusus Reuss 1834)
1831 Tarbophis Fleischmann (type species: Tarbophis fallax Fleischmann 1831; syn. Williams & Wallach 1989)
1831 Trigonophis Eichwald (type species: Trigonophis iberus Eichwald 1831)
1837 Ailurophis Bonaparte (type species: Ailurophis vivax Bonaparte 1837)
1935 Migiurtinophis Scortecci (type species: Migiurtinophis pulcher Scortecci 1935)
1955 Pseudotarbophis Domergue (type species: Pseudotarbophis gabesi Domergue 1955; syn. Williams & Wallach 1989)
Contents: 14 species, of which 1 (7.1%) is endemic.
Endemism: 0% 100%
Introduced to: Malta.
Distribution: S. Europe, Africa, Middle East, SW. Asia.
Reported from: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Benin, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Croatia, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt (incl. Sinai), Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece (incl. Aegean Islands [incl. Cyclades Islands, Dodecanese Islands (incl. Rhodes), Sporades Islands], Crete), Guinea, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa (Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West Province, Northern Cape, Western Cape), South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey (incl. European Turkey), Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Telescopus beetzii

Namib Tiger Snake, Namaqua Tiger Snake, (Beetz's Tiger Snake)

Namibianische Tigernatter

Namibiansk Tigersnog

1922 Tarbophis beetzii Barbour
Telescopus semiannulatus beetzii Loveridge 1955
Telescopus beetzii Mertens 1955

Distribution: Namibia, South Africa (Free State, Northern Cape, Western Cape).

Telescopus dhara

Arabian Cat Snake, Arabian Tiger Snake, Israelian Cat Snake, (Arabian Large-eyed Cat Snake)

Israelische Katzennatter

Arabisk Kattesnog

1775 Coluber dhara Forskål
Tarbophis dhara Anderson 1896
Telescopus dhara Corkill & Cochrane 1965

Remarks: Now restricted to the Arabian Peninsula and Sinai. Previously included obtusus and tripolitanus. Apart from local populations in S. Algeria and Chad, older records of dhara or obtusus from west of Egypt and Sudan refer to tripolitanus (Crochet, Rasmussen, Wilms, Geniez, Trape & Böhme 2008; Sindaco, Venchi & Grieco 2013).
Distribution: Egypt (Sinai), Israel, Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

Telescopus dhara
© Henrik Bringsøe

Telescopus fallax

European Cat Snake, European Tiger Snake

Europäische Katzennatter

Europæisk Kattesnog

1831 Tarbophis fallax Fleischmann
Telescopus fallax Mertens & Müller 1940
1826 Coluber vivax Fitzinger (Böhme (ed.) 1999)
1831 Trigonophis iberus Eichwald
Tarbophis iberus Boulenger 1913
Telescopus fallax iberus Schmidt 1939
Telescopus iberus Frank & Ramus 1995
1832 Coluber carneus Dwigubskij (Böhme (ed.) 1999)
1837 Ailurophis vivax Bonaparte (Böhme (ed.) 1999)
1880 Tarbophis vivax f. syriacus Boettger
Tarbophis fallax syriacus Mertens 1924
Telescopus fallax syriacus Schmidt 1939
1896 Tarbophis savignyi Boulenger (Böhme (ed.) 1999)
1927 Tarbophis fallax cyprianus Barbour & Amaral
1939 Tarbophis fallax mcewani Schmidt (Böhme (ed.) 1999)
1944 Telescopus fallax pallidus Stepanek
1952 Telescopus fallax multisquamatus Wettstein
1952 Telescopus fallax rhodicus Wettstein
1955 Telescopus fallax christianus Buchholz (Mertens & Wermuth 1960)
1974 Telescopus fallax intermedius Gruber

Other common names:
iberus: Caucasian Cat Snake
multisquamatus: Many-scaled Cat Snake
pallidus: Cretan Cat Snake
Remarks: Previously included hoogstrali. Presence in Jordan (e.g., Grillitsch & Grillitsch in Böhme (ed.) 1999) is regarded as doubtful (Disi, Modrý, Necas & Rifai 2001). Status of records from Iraq (iberus) is uncertain, but most likely refer to tessellatus (Schmidt 1939; Leviton, Anderson, Adler & Minton 1992; Sindaco, Venchi & Grieco 2013). However, presence of fallax in the country is still occasionally reiterated by some authors (e.g., Habeeb & Rastegar-Pouyani 2016).
Introduced to: Malta.
Distribution: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece (incl. Aegean Islands [incl. Cyclades Islands, Dodecanese Islands (incl. Rhodes), Sporades Islands], Crete), Iran, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Russia, Slovenia, Syria, Turkey (incl. European Turkey), Turkmenistan.

Telescopus fallax
© Henrik Bringsøe

Telescopus finkeldeyi

Damara Cat Snake



2013 Telescopus finkeldeyi Haacke

Distribution: Angola, Namibia.

Telescopus gezirae

Blue Nile Cat Snake

Sudanische Katzennatter

Sudansk Kattesnog

1994 Telescopus gezirae Broadley

Distribution: Sudan.

Telescopus hoogstraali

Sinai Cat Snake, Desert Tiger Snake, (Hoogstraal's Cat Snake)



1956 Telescopus hoogstraali Schmidt & Marx
Telescopus fallax hoogstraali Zinner 1977

Remarks: Regarded as a synonym or subspecies of fallax by some authors (e.g., Zinner 1977; Grillitsch & Grillitsch 1999), but as a full species in most recent works (e.g., Bouskila 2004; Baha el Din 2006).
Distribution: Egypt (Sinai), Israel, Jordan.

Telescopus nigriceps

Black-headed Cat Snake


Sorthovedet Kattesnog

1924 Tarbophis nigriceps Ahl
Telescopus fallax nigriceps Leviton, Anderson, Adler & Minton 1992
Telescopus nigriceps Martens 1993

Remarks: Also reported from the Palestinian West Bank (e.g., Handal, Amr & Qumsiyeh 2016), but Bar & Haimovitch (2012) considered this population as fallax syriacus.
Distribution: Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey.

Telescopus obtusus

Egyptian Cat Snake, (Northern Large-eyed Cat Snake, African Large-eyed Cat Snake)

Ägyptische Katzennatter

Ægyptisk Kattesnog

1834 Coluber obtusus Reuss
Dipsas obtusa Boulenger 1887
Tarbophis obtusus Scortecci 1932
Telescopus obtusus Böhme, Schmitz & Messer 1989
Telescopus dhara obtusus Leviton & Aldrich 1984
1895 Tarbophis guentheri Anderson (Crochet, Rasmussen, Wilms, Geniez, Trape & Böhme 2008)
Tarbophis dhara guentheri Haas & Battersby 1959
Telescopus dhara guentheri Spano 1972
1949 Tarbophis dhara somalicus Parker (syn. Geniez 2015; Spawls, Malonza & Beraduccii 2021)
Telescopus dhara somalicus Crochet, Rasmussen, Wilms, Geniez, Trape & Böhme 2008

Other common names:
obtusus: Northern Egyptian Cat Snake
somalicus: Kenyan Cat Snake
Remarks: Formerly regarded as a subspecies of dhara (e.g., Crochet, Rasmussen, Wilms, Geniez, Trape & Böhme 2008). Treated as a separate species herein, following several recent works (e.g., Geniez 2015; Chippaux & Jackson 2019; Spawls, Malonza & Beraduccii 2021). Previously included tripolitanus. Apart from local populations in S. Algeria and Chad, older records of dhara or obtusus from west of Egypt and Sudan refer to tripolitanus (Crochet, Rasmussen, Wilms, Geniez, Trape & Böhme 2008; Sindaco, Venchi & Grieco 2013). Wallach, Williams & Boundy (2014) treated obtusus and somalicus as separate species, based on Crochet, Rasmussen, Wilms, Geniez, Trape & Böhme (2008), however, they must have misread the publication in which both forms are regarded as subspecies of dhara. Nevertheless, somalicus may represent a separate species.
Distribution: Algeria, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda.

Telescopus pulcher

Somali Cat Snake, Beautiful Cat Snake

Somalische Katzennatter

Somalisk Kattesnog

1935 Migiurtinophis pulcher Scortecci
Tarbophis pulcher Parker 1949
Telescopus pulcher Welch 1982

Remarks: Found close to the Somali-Ethiopian border, but no actual records are known from Ethiopia (Spawls, Mazuch & Mohammad 2023).
Distribution: Somalia.

Telescopus rhinopoma

Persian Cat Snake, Iranian Cat Snake, (Indian Desert Cat Snake, Indian Desert Tiger Snake)

Persische Katzennatter

Persisk Kattesnog

1874 Dipsas rhinopoma Blanford
Tarbophis rhinopoma Boulenger 1895
Telescopus rhinopoma Minton 1962
1914 Dipsadomorphus jollyi Wall (Smith 1943)

Distribution: Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan.

Telescopus semiannulatus

Southern Tiger Snake, Eastern Tiger Snake, Tiger Cat Snake

Südafrikanische Tigernatter

Sydafrikansk Tigersnog

1849 Telescopus semiannulatus Smith
Leptodira semiannulata Günther 1872
Crotaphopeltis semiannulatus Bocage 1895
Tarbophis semiannulatus Boulenger 1896
1898 Tarbophis semiannulatus meridionalis Werner (Broadley 1983)
1954 Telescopus semiannulatus polystictus Mertens

Other common names:
polystictus: Damara Tiger Snake
Distribution: Angola, Botswana, Congo-Brazzaville, Congo-Kinshasa, Eswatini, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa (Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West Province, Northern Cape), Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Telescopus tessellatus

Iraqi Cat Snake

Irakische Katzennatter

Iraqisk Kattesnog

1908 Tarbophis tessellatus Wall
Telescopus tessellatus Anderson 1963
1939 Tarbophis martini Schmidt (Leviton, Anderson, Adler & Minton 1992)
Telescopus tessellatus martini Welch 1983

Distribution: Iran, Iraq.

Telescopus tripolitanus

North African Cat Snake, Western Cat Snake

Nordafrikanische Katzennatter

Nordafrikansk Kattesnog

1909 Leptodira tripolitana Werner
Telescopus tripolitanus Trape & Mané 2002
1916 Tarbophis guidimakaensis Chabanaud (Crochet, Rasmussen, Wilms, Geniez, Trape & Böhme 2008)
Telescopus guidimakaensis Welch 1982
1955 Pseudotarbophis gabesi Domergue (Crochet, Rasmussen, Wilms, Geniez, Trape & Böhme 2008)
Pseudotarbophis gabesiensis Domergue 1959 [incorrect subsequent spelling]

Remarks: Previously regarded as a synonym of obtusus (e.g., Schleich, Kästle & Kabisch 1996). Validity as a separate species proposed by Crochet, Rasmussen, Wilms, Geniez, Trape & Böhme (2008). T. guidimakaensis was previously regarded as a synonym of obtusus (e.g.; Schleich, Kästle & Kabisch 1996), of tripolitanus (e.g., Chippaux 2001), or treated as a valid species (e.g., Padial 2006). A record from Sierra Leone (Aylmer 1922 [as obtusus]) is considered erroneous (Trape & Baldé 2014).
Distribution: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia, Western Sahara.

Telescopus variegatus

Variable Cat Snake, Variegated Tiger Snake, Variable Tiger Snake

Westafrikanische Katzennatter

Vestafrikansk Kattesnog

1843 Dipsas variegata Reinhardt
Tarbophis variegatus Werner 1897
Telescopus variegatus Doucet 1963
1902 Leptodira pobeguini Mocquard (Chippaux 2001)

Remarks: Records from Niger (e.g., Papenfuss 1969; Berre 1989) refer to tripolitanus (Trape & Mané 2015).
Distribution: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo.