6 COMMON Snakes in Syria! (2024)

Do you want to learn about the snakes that live in Syria?

Types of snakes in Syria

If so, you’ve come to the right place. In the article below, I have listed the most common snakes you can expect to see. Then, for each species, you will find out how to identify that snake correctly, along with pictures, interesting facts, and RANGE MAPS!

You’ll see that the snakes that live in Syria 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.

6 COMMON snakes that live in Syria:


#1. Large Whip Snake

  • Dolichophis jugularis

Also known as Fire Snake, Black Whipsnake, Persian Large Whip Snake, Green Whip Snake, and European Whip Snake.

Common Syria snakes
Credit (right image): Musa geçit via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 160-200 cm (63-79 in) long on average.
  • They have small heads and large black eyes with rounded pupils.
  • Their coloring is shiny black with white bellies, and their lips and throats have a reddish tint.

The Large Whip Snake frequents open grasslands and meadows in Syria. It enjoys basking in the sun when it’s not looking for food.

Despite their size, Large Whip Snakes are agile enough to climb bushes. Their speed proves useful when catching birds, frogs, and other reptiles. Curiously, they will even eat snakes of the same species!

These highly alert snakes will flee upon sensing danger. However, a Large Whip Snake can become aggressive and quickly strike if cornered. Its painful bite is laden with mildly toxic saliva, causing numbness and swelling. Thankfully, it doesn’t do more damage than that.


#2. Red Whip Snake

  • Platyceps collaris

Also known as Collared Dwarf Racer.

Common snakes found in Syria
Credit (image left): Benny Trapp, (image right): David~O, via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 70-100 cm (28-39 in) long.
  • They have slim tapered tails, small flat heads, and large eyes.
  • Their coloring is gray or brown, with a reddish hue on the bottom half of their bodies.

Red Whip Snakes are often found in Syria in backyard gardens.

They also frequent oak forests, rocky hills, and coastal plains. They’re common near people, so you might get a surprise visit from this colorful creature! Thankfully, they’re non-venomous.

With its incredible agility, this snake prefers to chase rather than ambush prey. But, funnily enough, it may sometimes go after lizards too big for it to swallow. When this happens, the lizard breaks off its tail, and the Red Whip Snake ends up eating that instead.

Red Whip Snakes are harmless to humans. However, they’re alert animals that will flee to safety if you try to approach them. They enjoy resting in the shade, especially during hot summers.


#3. Palestine Viper

  • Daboia palaestinae

Also known as Palestinian Viper.

Snakes of Syria

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults grow 70-90 cm (28-35 in) long.
  • They are stout-bodied snakes with short, tapered tails, flat heads, and blunt snouts.
  • You can find dark V-shaped markings on the top and on both sides of the head.
  • Their coloring is brown, gray, and olive, with dark bands and zigzags.

This highly venomous viper makes its home in forests, hills, marshlands, and coastal plains. Palestine Vipers are nocturnal predators, ambushing rodents, small mammals, birds, and lizards that sleep at night.

The Palestine Viper prefers places where rat populations and water sources are abundant. Unfortunately, these tend also to be places where humans live and farm, and this species is responsible for most of the snake bites in its native range.

To steer clear of this snake in Syria, listen carefully for loud hissing noises! Palestine Vipers often loiter on tree branches high above the ground. Thankfully, they aren’t immediately aggressive and prefer to escape if disturbed.


#4. Levantine Viper

  • Macrovipera lebetinus

Also known as West-Asian Blunt-nosed Viper, Levantine Adder, Lebanese Viper, Mountain Viper, Coffin Snake.

Types of snakes in Syria

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults grow up to 150 cm (59 in) long.
  • They have flat, broad, triangular heads with blunt snouts.
  • Their coloring is gray, beige, or khaki, with brown or bluish blotches and stripes along the body.

Levantine Vipers are nocturnal residents of rocky hills, shrublands, and mountain valleys. When the sun is out, you might spot one resting in the shade of trees. In winter, they hibernate in groups to conserve heat, but they hunt alone for the rest of the year.

These vipers are ambush predators that lurk near water sources. Though they move sluggishly, they are deceptively fast when striking. Adults feed on lizards, birds, and rats. Young ones, on the other hand, prefer insects.

Bite incidents from Levantine Vipers are relatively common because they frequent urban areas with dense human populations. Symptoms include abdominal pain and blistering around the bite area. In severe cases, victims can die from internal bleeding. Seek immediate medical assistance if you get bitten.


#5. Javelin Sand Boa

  • Eryx jaculus

Also known as Sand Boa.

sand boa

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults can grow up to 80 cm (31.5 in) long.
  • The head has no distinction from the body. A dark stripe runs from the eyes to the neck.
  • Their coloring is cream, beige, and yellow to bright orange with irregular dark blotches on the back and small spots on the sides.

Despite their name, these snakes in Syria are not typically found in sandy areas. Instead, the best places for them are savanna-like habitats with loam soil or rocky slopes (if there is enough loose soil).

Sand Boas are hard to find because they are nocturnal and spend most of their life underground. They don’t come out to bask in the sun but instead get warm by basking just under fallen leaves, stones, or the surface of loose soil. They rarely bite when handled and typically act sluggish.

These snakes have an interesting role in history. To cause confusion and fear during naval battles, they were shot by the ancient Greeks at their enemies! Consequently, as the Greeks conquered new territories, they spread this species, and the range of Sand Boas also increased. 🙂


#6. Tesselated Water Snake

  • Natrix tessellata

Also known as Dice Snake.

dice snake

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Their typical size is 100 – 130 cm (39–51 in) long.
  • Their color varies from grayish green to brownish or almost black, with dark spots on their backs.

To find this snake in Syria, it’s best to look in the water!

In fact, the Tessellated Water Snake is a great swimmer and spends much of its time in aquatic habitats. Its primary food is fish, although amphibians are sometimes consumed too.

If you ever see underneath a Tesselated Water Snake, the belly is sometimes colored vividly in yellow or orange, with black spots. The pattern is very similar to dice, which is how they got their other common name, the Dice Snake!


Do you want to learn about other animals in Syria?

If so, check out these guides!


Which of these snakes have you seen before in Syria?

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