Snakes of the UAE

There appear to be 17 species of snakes in the UAE and surrounding area. A number are venemous though bites are rare.

Land Snakes of the United Arab Emirates – excellent and sensible article

Seventeen species of snakes have been collected and identified in the United Arab Emirates and surrounds, including the Musandam Peninsula of Oman, during the past 40 years. Of these, four are sea snakes and that will not be dealt with here.

Snakes have their place in the food chain, being both hunters and hunted. On balance, in the UAE, they probably do more good than harm, but humans are inevitably brought up to think of them all as dangerous. A snake is usually something to be killed on sight, whether it is harmless or a potential danger. I do not wish to underestimate the seriousness of snakebite, but with care snakebites should easily be avoided. When did you last hear of someone being bitten by a snake in the UAE? Although several colubrid species of snake have rear fangs that are capable of injecting venom into their prey, it would probably not be in sufficient quantity to cause great harm to a human. The four species in the Viper family (Nos 1811 to 1825) are front-fanged and potentially the most dangerous ones, which should be left alone when encountered.

UAE – Travel: Wildlife – Snakes

A variety of snake species are found in the UAE, most are not poisonous and it is highly likely that you will not see a single snake during your visit. However, if you are out in the country watch out for the horned viper (Cerastes cerastes gasperetii) which is similar in appearance to the false horned viper, the false horned viper (Pseudocerastes persicus) and is often also referred to as the sand viper. Confusion arises because only some have horns. The horned viper reaches a length of about 85cm, and has the typical stocky viper body, a very broad head with hinged teeth. Horned vipers also move in a side-winding manner in soft sand, which is their favoured habitat. Adapted to the open desert it is creamy-beige in colour, with darker blotches on its back. In the Emirates it is found in all the sandy deserts from the coast up to the mountain plains where there is virtually no shade available.

Venomous snakes of UAE

See also these excellent pages on the United Arab Emirite’s species of poisonous snakes

Sailor bitten by rare snake

Reg Furlong learned an important lesson on Saturday night about snakes: stay away, especially if you don’t know anything about them. He also learned that if you are bitten by a poisonous snake, quick treatment is not a sure thing. A saw-scaled viper bit Mr Furlong, 61, at the Ras al Khaimah Sailing Club, where he is commodore. He is being treated at Saif Hospital for kidney problems attributed to the venomous bite on his finger, but his wife said he was turned away from two hospitals because they could not treat snake bites.