4 COMMON Types of Snakes Found in Egypt! (2022)

Do you want to learn about the types of snakes found in Egypt?

Types of snakes in Egypt

If so, you have come to the right place. In the article below, I have listed the MOST COMMON snakes you can expect to see. Unfortunately, there are so many snakes that live in Egypt that it would be impossible to list each one. 🙂

 

You’ll see that the snakes in Egypt are very different from each other. They range from venomous species to snakes that use constriction to immobilize their prey. In addition, certain snakes are common to find living around people. For each species, you will find out how to identify that snake correctly, along with pictures, interesting facts, and RANGE MAPS!

 

Here are 4 types of snakes that live in Egypt:

 


#1. Forskal Sand Snake

  • Psammophis schokari

Also known as Schokari Sand Racer and Afro-Asian Sand Snake

Common Egypt snakes

Identifying Characteristics:

  • It is a slender snake about 70-150 cm (28-59 in) long with a tapering tail.
  • The head is flat and elongated. The snout is long. The eyes are large with rounded pupils.
  • Coloration greatly varies depending on habitat:
    • Morph #1: Light brown with dark stripes, appropriate for densely vegetated areas
    • Morph #2: Light-colored with little to no stripes, a good camouflage for sandy terrain

 

The Forskal Sand Snake is something you might encounter in sandy deserts, shrublands, or oases. It’s an excellent tree climber. However, it also makes its home under rocks and abandoned burrows.

Its other common name, the Schokari Sand Racer, hints at its outstanding speed! Its agility and venom allow it to quickly immobilize lizards, frogs, rodents, and birds. Although most active during the day, it prefers to hunt at night during the hotter months.

 

If you try to approach this mild-mannered snake, it will likely retreat into a nearby hole or bush. Forskal Sand Snakes are harmless to humans. Quite the opposite, these little helpers keep the vermin population in check!

 


#2. Desert Horned Viper

  • Cerastes cerastes

Also known as Saharan Horned Viper, North African Horned Viper, Greater Cerastes

Common snakes found in Egypt

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 30-85 cm (12-33 in) long. Females are longer, but males have larger heads and eyes.
  • Their coloring ranges from yellow, gray, pink, and red to brown.
  • This species owes its common name to the pair of horn-like protrusions above its eyes. Also notable are the rectangular blotches along its body.
  • They have heavily keeled scales that they rub together to make a rasping sound when they feel threatened.

 

While looking for snakes in Egypt, you might find a pattern of strange S-shaped markings in the sand.

If you find this pattern, tread carefully! A Desert Horned Viper might be nearby.

This nocturnal viper is an ambush predator. It lies submerged in sand, waiting for an opportunity for lunch in the form of lizards and rodents. It bites down, then holds its prey in its jaws until the venom does its work.

 

While there are no known human fatalities from a Desert Horned Viper, its bite can still cause intense swelling and hemorrhage. Seek immediate treatment if you get bitten. This viper is not known for its easy-going nature, so back down and move away slowly if you find yourself in a face-off against one.

 


#3. Egyptian Cobra

  • Naja haje

Also known as the Brown Cobra

Snakes of Egypt

Identifying Characteristics:

  • On average, these snakes are 140-259 cm (55-102 in) long.
  • The easiest way to recognize the Egyptian Cobra is through its broad, flattened head distinct from its long, ribbed neck, which expands to form a hood when it feels threatened.
  • Coloration varies geographically, but the most common is brown. However, some snakes are red, gray, or black.

 

The Egyptian Cobra is as deadly as it is famous. It can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where Pharaohs used it to symbolize their power to take life. Today, you’ll find this snake in Egypt swimming in shallow waters or resting in abandoned animal burrows.

The venom of the Egyptian Cobra has neurotoxins and cytotoxins that assault the nervous system. Respiratory failure and death may happen in the worst-case scenario. The venom is slow-acting, so seek treatment if you get bitten, even if you don’t immediately show symptoms.

 

Foraging for food sometimes brings the Egyptian Cobra to human settlements. However, it will favor escaping if confronted. Its favorite meals are toads, but it will also go for lizards, birds, and other snakes.

 


#4. Sahara Sand Viper

  • Cerastes vipera

Also known as Sahara Hornless Viper, Lesser Cerastes, Common Sand Viper, Egyptian Asp, Cleopatra’s Asp, Avicenna Viper

Types of snakes in Egypt

Identifying Characteristics:

  • These are short snakes, measuring only 20-60 cm (8-24 in) long.
  • Body coloration is light brown to orange-red.
  • Females are considerably larger than males, and the tips of their tails are distinctly black.
  • They have broad, triangular heads when viewed from above.

 

The Sahara Sand Viper is small, thick-bodied, and highly venomous. Look for this snake in the deserts of Egypt.

 

A nocturnal predator, the Sahara Sand Viper lays patiently under cover of sand with only its eyes and snout uncovered. It can wait for hours in preparation for an ambush. Occasionally, it uses the black tip of its tail to lure unfortunate lizards, rodents, and geckos to their death.

Its venom is not fatal to humans, but be careful as bites are serious enough to warrant a visit to the hospital. When threatened, the Sahara Sand Viper rubs the sides of its scaled body together, producing a raspy hissing noise. Observe from a distance, as this is an irritable snake!

 


Do you need more help identifying a snake you saw in Africa?

 

If so, check out this field guide, which is full of great information!


Learn more about animals found in Egypt in these ID Guides:


Which of these snakes have you seen before in Egypt?

 

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