Do you want to learn about the types of snakes found in Libya?
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 Libya that it would be impossible to list each one. 🙂
You’ll see that the snakes in Libya 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 2 types of snakes that live in Libya:
#1. Forskal Sand Snake
- Psammophis schokari
Also known as Schokari Sand Racer and Afro-Asian Sand Snake
- 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
- 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 Libya, 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.
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 Libya in these ID Guides:
Which of these snakes have you seen before in Libya?
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