The Forestry Department has discovered a rare Cyprus grass snake at two locations within the Machairas national forest park, an area popular for foxes, hares and hedgehogs, as well as the Bonelli’s eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus).
This find has puzzled officials as similar serpents are more commonly found near the Paralimni lake and the Maroullenas river area, near Pharmakas.
The snake, the ‘natrix natrix cypriaca’, is a protected species and “adds new data to the geographic expansion of the endemic subspecies o the Cyprus fauna,” the department said.
The Machairas forest national park is part o the Natura 2000 network. The two largest rivers in Cyprus, the Pedieos and Yialias, and the Pentaschinos and Maroni rivers, spring from the park area.
The park is also home to three picnic areas, mountain bike trails and five nature paths, one of which extends for 19 km.