Natural UAE

Sand snake (Psammophis schokari)

The most widespread of the "rear -fanged", or mildly toxic, snakes in this area is the sand snake (Psammophis schokari ) and at 155 cms maximum length it is also the longest snake in the Emirates. It can move at incredible speed and is probably one of the most elegant of snakes. Even in soft sand it moves in a normal sinuous way, since the distribution of its body weight over a long thin surface prevents it from sinking in and permits it to find a grip even on the most unstable of substrates. Active during daytime, it is found near cultivations, gardens and scrubland in the mountains as well as on the open plains and around fertile areas bordering onto the sandy deserts, where it searches for lizards, small mammals and even climbs trees in pursuit of freshly hatched birds. When in search of rodents it investigates any holes in the ground and if it has found a nest of mice it usually consumes the whole litter. Since it is not dangerous to man its contribution to pest control should be highly valued. It is brown to grey in colour, with black and white streaks, which, on young animals, extend along the side of the body, but on older specimens only reach from the snout to the back of the neck.

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