9 COMMON Snakes in Uzbekistan! (2024)

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

Types of snakes in Uzbekistan

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 Uzbekistan 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.

9 COMMON snakes that live in Uzbekistan:


#1. Diadem Snake

  • Spalerosophis diadema

Also known as Royal Snake, Diademed Snake.

Common Uzbekistan snakes

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are fairly slender and can grow to 180 cm (71 in) in length.
  • They are commonly pale and sandy in color with darker spots and blotches and a dark, reddish head.
  • The scales on the head have an iridescent shine, resembling a crown or diadem. This is how the snake got its name!

Diadem Snakes in Uzbekistan are most at home in sandy deserts and rocky lowlands.

You can find them tucked beneath rocks, roots, or abandoned animal burrows for protection. In deserts, they stay close to oases for easy access to food and water. They are primarily land-dwellers, but they have no trouble climbing trees.

Though mostly active in daylight, Diadem Snakes prefer hunting at dusk in the hotter seasons. Their venom is strong enough to kill prey but too weak to harm humans. They have an appetite for lizards, birds, small mammals, and even other snakes!

This quick-moving reptile will attempt to flee or thrash around to intimidate predators when danger is afoot. A cornered Diadem Snake can be unpredictably aggressive. Their bites can be painful, so keep your distance.


#2. Central Asian Cobra

  • Naja oxiana

Also known as Caspian Cobra, Ladle Snake, Black Cobra, Brown Cobra, Russian Cobra, Oxus Cobra, Trans-Caspian Cobra, and Acellate Cobra.

Common snakes found in Uzbekistan
Credit: Omid Mozaffari via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • These heavy-bodied snakes reach 100-140 cm (39-55 in) long.
  • Their snouts are blunt and short with large nostrils.
  • They are shades of brown or yellow with dark bands across their throats.
  • Juveniles are paler in color.

The Central Asian Cobra is INCREDIBLY VENOMOUS. One bite is potent enough to kill 40 adult humans! Fortunately, it avoids humans and prefers to escape if approached.

Look for this snake in Uzbekistan in rocky foothills, shrublands, and forests far from civilization. Central Asian Cobras are fantastic climbers and capable swimmers. They feed on rodents, amphibians, fish, and birds, then hide in tree hollows to rest.

Central Asian Cobras are terrifyingly aggressive if cornered, especially juveniles. First, they will spread their hoods and sway from side to side while hissing a warning. Then, as a last resort, they will repeatedly strike with astonishing speed. Stay back!


#3. Spotted Desert Racer

  • Platyceps karelini
Snakes of Uzbekistan
Credit (left image): Nasser Halaweh, (right image): Mohammad Amin Ghaffari, via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults grow 65-75 cm (26-30 in) long, but they can reach 90 cm (35 in).
  • Females are larger than males.
  • These are slender-bodied snakes with large eyes and short snouts.
  • Their coloring is grayish-brown with paler undersides and a series of black spots or bars across the body. Some specimens have reddish tails.

Spotted Desert Racers are one of the fastest-moving snakes in Uzbekistan.

It’s not hard to tell how they got their name! Look for this species in arid deserts, steppes, and plains. They’re shy snakes, preferring to slither away quickly if they feel threatened.

This species is smaller and vulnerable to predators, so it often takes shelter in empty animal burrows. Their diets consists mostly of small lizards and mice, but it also includes insects, birds, and bird eggs.

These snakes are non-venomous, and their saliva is only toxic to small prey. Spotted Desert Racers pose no danger to humans, but don’t try to catch one! While usually calm, they can bite if agitated. Bites may cause an itching sensation that can last for hours.


#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 Uzbekistan

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. Desert Sand Boa

  • Eryx miliaris

Also known as Dwarf Sand Boa, Tartar Sand Boa.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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 Uzbekistan. 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!


#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 Uzbekistan, 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!


#7. Steppe Ratsnake

  • Elaphe dione

Also known as Dione’s Ratsnake.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 90-110 cm (35-43 in) long.
  • Their coloring is black, brown, beige, or red. In addition, some individuals might have stripes or blotches on their bodies.

The Steppe Ratsnake is a terrestrial snake with the ability to live in a wide variety of habitats. You can find this snake in forests, plains, rocky areas, wetlands, and deserts. It is active both during the day and at night. This is one species that isn’t picky about its surroundings!

Like other ratsnakes in Uzbekistan, the Steppe Ratsnake is non-venomous.


#8. 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.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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 Uzbekistan.

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.


#9. Steppe Ribbon Racer

  • Psammophis lineolatus

Also known as Arrow Snake.

Identifying Characteristics:

  • 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 Uzbekistan?

If so, check out these guides!


Which of these snakes have you seen before in Uzbekistan?

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