Afghanistan Reptiles

There are many things I miss about Afghanistan. I grew to love the people, the land, and the wildlife. I have fond memories of that country. Reptiles always hold a special place in my heart, however, and the arid Afghan climate gives home to a plethora of these beautiful animals. Add to this the fact that most of the country’s reptiles, and wildlife in general, have not been thoroughly cataloged and you have a herpetologist’s paradise. Some day, when the insane people of the this world are defeated, this land will be a natural history and historical paradise. But for now – keep your head down.

The Afghan Tortoise is surprisingly common in parts of the county.  Sold in American pet stores as a Russian Tortoise the two cute specimens in this photos are definitely Afghans – lovingly raised by American GIs outside of Qalat. HOOAH! Saw Scaled Vipers are ubiquitous – and dangerous – venomous serpents found throughout the country. Due to the number of time it bites humans saw scales are rated as one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. This strikingly beautiful specimen posed for me in Kandahar. The largest snake I encountered over there is the Steppe Racer. Easily over 6 feet long this non-venomous snake gets a lot of attention when you run across one of them. They seem to prefer in the northern to northeastern part of the country. For lack of a good common name I’ll call this Erimias fasciata a Striped Racer. Common, colorful, and fast I usually found them in southern and central Afghanistan. Agamas lizards, as they do in the resto fo the workl, predominate in Afghanistan. Although they do not possess the extreme talents of its chameleon cousins, agama lizards actually do change colors. The little guy in my hand proved this right in front of my eyes. The prettiest lizard I discovered over there is the purple throat agama I found in great numbers around Zabul province. For more on the fascinating wildlife of Afghanistan visit:

Afghan Arabia Wild

 

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