Saudi Arabia is home to a wide range of geographies including wetlands, mountains, forests and deserts. Deserts cover 95 percent of Saudi Arabia's landmass, making it a suitable home for ectotherms such as snakes. Saudi Arabia is home to 34 species of snakes.
Taxonomic family Colubridae is a large and diverse group of nonvemonous snakes, found in habitats such as sandy terrain, canyons, scrublands, arid mountains and farms. Snakes in this family include the egg-eating snake (Dasypeltis scabra), the cliff racer Azrud jabali rafi (Platyceps rhodorachis rhodorachis), the Saharan cliff racer (Platyceps saharicus), the glossy-bellied racer (Platyceps ventromaculatus), the elegant racer (Platyceps elegantissimus (elegant racer), the Manser's racer (Platyceps manseri), the spotted racer (Platyceps rogersi), the Clifford snake (Spalerosophis diadema cliffordi), the Moila snake (Malpolon moilensis), the Diademed sand-snake (Lytorhynchus diadema), the Schokari sand snake (Psammophis schokari schokari) and the Arabian cat snake (Telescopus dhara dhara).
Family Viperidae comprises venomous snakes who use venom to hunt and protect themselves from predators. Such snakes include the puff adder (Bitis arietans arietans), the carpet viper (Echis pyramidum), Burton’s carpet viper (Echis coloratus), the greater Cerastes horned viper (Cerastes cerastes gasperetti), the lesser Cerastes viper (Cerastes vipera), the Sind saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus sochureki), the Levant viper (Macrovipera lebetina) and the field's horned viper (Pesudocerastes persicus fieldi).
Families Typhlopidae, Leptotypholopidae and Boidae
Snakes of taxonomic families Typhlopidae, Leptotypholopidae and Boidae all live among soil or sandy terrain, where they hunt for invertebrates such as termites, ants and insect larvae. Family Typhlopidae includes the Brahminy blind snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus) and the Greek blind snake (Typhlops vermicularis). Family Leptotypholopidae includes only the hook-billed blind snake (Leptotyphlops macrorhynchus). Family Bodiae also consists of only one species of snake, Jayakar’s sand boa (Eryx jayakari).
Families Atractaspididae and Elapidae
Snakes of families Atractaspidae and Elapidae generally prefer habitats with loose soil that are close to water. They feed on rodents, lizards, toads, frogs and fish. Family Atractaspidae consists of the burrowing adder (Atractaspis microlepidota), the Israeli mole viper (Atractaspis engaddensis) and Anderson's mole viper (Atractaspis andersonii). Family Elapidae includes the Arabian Cobra (Naja haje arabica), the spitting cobra (Naja nigricollis nigricollis) and the Innes cobra (Walterinnsia aegyptia), as well as several water snakes: the Arabian Gulf sea snake (Hydrophis lapemoides), the annulated sea snake (Hydrophis cyanocinctus), the small-headed sea snake (Hydrophis macdowelli) and the beaked sea snake (Enhydrina schistosa).
- Egyptian Academic Journal of Biological Sciences: Ecological distribution of snakes' auna of Jazan region of Saudi Arabia
- Idaho State University: Family - Viperidae
- iNaturalist.org: Levantine Viper
- IUCN Red List: Atractaspis andersonii
- IUCN Red List: Atractaspis engaddensis
- Arkive: Echis carinatus sochureki
- IUCN Red List: Hydrophis lapemoides
- IUCN Red List: Enhydrina schistosa
- IUCN Red List: Hydrophis cyanocinctus
- IUCN Red List: Hydrophis macdowelli
- National Geographic: Saudi Arabia
- Snakes of Arabia; Damien Egan
- Helen Zeigler and Associates: Wildlife in Saudi Arabia
Amanda Williams has been writing since 2009 on various writing websites and blogging since 2003. She enjoys writing about health, medicine, education and home and garden topics. Williams earned a Bachelor of Science in biology at East Stroudsburg University in May 2013. Williams is also a certified emergency medical technician.