Do you want to learn about the snakes that live in Tajikistan?
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 Tajikistan 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.
5 COMMON snakes that live in Tajikistan:
#1. Levantine Viper
- Macrovipera lebetinus
Also known as West-Asian Blunt-nosed Viper, Levantine Adder, Lebanese Viper, Mountain Viper, Coffin Snake.
- 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.
#2. Desert Sand Boa
- Eryx miliaris
Also known as Dwarf Sand Boa, Tartar Sand Boa.
- Adults are usually 35-55 cm (14-22 in) long.
- They are thick-bodied snakes with short, stocky tails.
- You’ll see a dark streak running from each eye down to the angle of the mouth.
- Their coloring is sandy yellow or brown with overlapping spots and blotches.
Desert Sand Boas inhabit deserts and semi-desert steppes in Tajikistan. They like to make homes out of animal burrows. These snakes hunt for lizards, rodents, and insects when the sun goes down.
If you’re looking for this species, look closely at the sand! Equipped with eyes that are slightly tilted upwards, Desert Sand Boas can observe their surroundings even while burrowed, with just their eyes peeking out. Interestingly, they lunge sideways instead of forward when grabbing prey.
Desert Sand Boas don’t have venom, but their saliva is toxic. They’re famous among exotic pet keepers for their docile nature. However, they can be aggressive while feeding. Due to their saliva, their bites can cause pain, swelling, and secondary infection. Don’t attempt to handle this snake unless you have plenty of experience!
#3. Tesselated Water Snake
- Natrix tessellata
Also known as Dice Snake.
- 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 Tajikistan, 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!
#4. Halys Pit Viper
- Gloydius halys
Also known as Siberian Pit Viper, Halys Viper, Pallas’s Pit Viper, Asiatic Pit Viper, Asiatic Moccasin, and Mongolian Pit Viper.
- The Halys pit viper can grow to a maximum length of 59 cm (23 in).
- Their coloring is gray, red, pale brown, or yellow, with large dark spots, crossbars, and a white belly speckled with gray or brown.
The Halys Pit Viper is a venomous snake found across Tajikistan.
Its habitat includes montane slopes and plains or rocky high mountain plateaus. It is a terrestrial snake, mostly found on the ground. Look for this species during the day, which is its preferred time to hunt. Its diet includes lizards, rodents, snakes, birds, and frogs.
Keep a respectful distance if you see the Halys Pit Viper! This is an incredibly dangerous snake. Its venom contains neurotoxins, which affect the brain and nerves, and necrotoxins, which cause bleeding and infection.
Bite symptoms range from mild to severe, depending on the amount of venom exposure. Victims have reported excruciating pain, severe swelling, bruising, blistering, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, respiratory distress, dizziness, collapse, or convulsions. The best way to avoid being bitten is to be cautious in this snake’s range and back away slowly if you discover one.
#5. Steppe Ribbon Racer
- Psammophis lineolatus
Also known as Arrow Snake.
- Adults reach 91 cm (35 in) long.
- The back is olive-gray, sandy brown, or brownish-gray. The edges of the scales are slightly lighter than the middle, which gives them a raised appearance.
- The underparts are white with gray, brown, or olive-gray spots.
As its name suggests, this species is a quick snake and will often flee if confronted. The nocturnal habits and skittish nature of the Steppe Ribbon Racer make it difficult to observe in the wild. Little is known about its global population because of how hard these snakes are to find. However, it’s considered relatively common throughout its range.
The Steppe Ribbon Racer is only mildly venomous and isn’t harmful to humans. They are nocturnal snakes that prefer to move and hunt during the night. They primarily eat lizards and spend much of their time in sandy areas.
Do you want to learn about other animals in Tajikistan?
If so, check out these guides!
Which of these snakes have you seen before in Tajikistan?
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