Friday, May 15, 2009

More of Egypt's Herps (Non-geckos)

I would have loved to explore the many great habitats and ecosystems of Egypt, but a lack of time and an abundance of rules restricted me mostly to desert areas close to the city where geckos run wild. I did see a few non-gecko herps in Egypt, however, and this is a record of those.
These skinks loved basking on the sidwalks and perched under bushes around my hotel in Luxor, Egypt. They were even good at climbing trees to escape capture. Not sure on the specie.
Some of them had amazing greens and yellows along their sides, probably as a result of mating season. All the sunburned European tourists sitting by the pool in their speedos and gross bikinis didn't know what to make of the American boy crawling on his hands and knees through the bushes...acting like they've never seen a herper before.
The area around Mount Sinai is a sparsely vegetated, rocky landscape that doesn't seem able to support much life. The weather was somewhat cool the day I was there, and I only happened upon one small lizard, in spite of my watchful eye and busy-ness flipping rocks.
Again, I am unsure of the specie name, but it looked like it filled the kind of niche that side-blotched lizards fill in the US. It kind of looked similar but had a longer snout and different patterning.
While snorkeling the Red Sea, I saw this guy swimming for shelter 15 feet below me. I was ecstatic to see a sea snake! (Sorry for the small picture). Then, while trying to look up what specie it was I learned that sea snakes can't live in the Red Sea due to the high salinity content of the water, and this "sea snake" that I was so excited to see was actually called a spotted snake eel...why?! You know, whether it's an S-shaped piece of rubber laying on the shoulder of a desert road or spotted snake eel, Mother Nature always finds ways to fool even the most seasoned herper.

In addition to these herps, there was also the lizard found on the dunes in Nuweiba that escaped beneath the bush, which I believe was the long-footed lizard, Acanthodactylus longipes. (Google it and look under images for a picture.) Also, I found a pool full of small, black tadpoles in the Al-Azhar Gardens in Cairo probably from the green toad (Bufo viridis). The gardeners there wouldn't let me do a detailed investigation to find an adult. ...And I think that basically sums things up for Egypt. I've already caught some cool Jordanian herps, and a post on those will be forthcoming.


  1. You can click on most of my herp pics for a more upclose look. Some of them are pretty clear, like the short-fingered gecko.

  2. I am totally laughing!! I love the thought of the Europeans laying in the sun as you crawl around on your hands and knees. Too funny! (And you are right...their swim attire is usually AWFUL!) That's too bad that what you thought was a sea snake turned out not to be. When I went snorkeling at the Red Sea, I nearly stepped on a white eel as I swam into shore and walked across the rocks.

  3. That snake, I mean eel is very cool looking... from HERE... but, I would FREAK if I was swimming and saw it!!!