Russia is the world’s largest country, covering an area of 6,592,800 square miles. The country’s expansive landscape has an abundance of vegetation and wildlife. Reptiles such as Slow Worms, Common European Adder, Caucasian Agama, and Siberian Pit Viper form part of the wildlife population of the country.
Native Reptiles Of Russia
Slow Worm Legless Lizard (Anguis fragilis)
The Slow Worm Legless Lizard (Anguis fragilis) is a reptile species native to Russia, the United Kingdom (especially Wales), and much of Asia. It is a lizard that has no limbs and may be mistaken for a snake. It is also known as ‘blind worm.' An adult has an average length of 40 centimeters. It feeds on slugs and other slow moving micro-organisms. A slow worm can shed off its tail to evade a predator. The lizard is a secretive creature that lives under rocks and logs. Slow worm reaches reproductive maturity at the age of 4 to 5 years. The lizard’s mating season begins in mid-May to late June, and the female lizard gives birth to an average of eight young ones after a period of three months. The slow worm has one of the longest lifespans among lizards living up to 30 years. The lizard species has a wide range of habitats and is therefore highly adaptable. It is not on the endangered species list. The slow worm is a protected animal in the UK.
Common European Adder (Vipera berus)
The Common European Adder (Vipera berus) is a venomous snake native to a wide area ranging from Britain to central France in the west, and reaching as far east as the Russian Pacific Coast and the Korean Peninsula. Although it is venomous, the snake is timid and non-aggressive. The snake has a distinct zigzag black pattern that runs through its entire body. It grows to an average length of 60 centimeters and weighs an average of 120 grams. Its meals consist of small mammals, lizards, birds, spiders, and worms. The Common European Adder can be found in alpine slopes, woodlands, moors, sandy semi-deserts, and lake shores. Threats to the snake species include the destruction of its habitats, attacks by humans, and collection for its venom. Despite the threats, the snake occupies a broad range of habitats and is therefore not an endangered species. The Common European Adder is a protected species in most localities where it is found.
Chinese Softshell Turtle (Pelodiscus Sinensis)
The Chinese Softshell Turtle (Pelodiscus Sinensis) is a turtle found in China, northern Vietnam, Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and Russia. It inhabits fresh and slightly saline water in ponds, lakes, rivers, creeks, and drainage canals. Chinese Softshell Turtle has a soft leathery carapace that reaches an average length of 30 centimeters. Its webbed feet and light shell enable smooth movement in the water. It feeds on crustaceans, fish remains, mollusks, and insects. The turtle is a popular delicacy in Asia. It is also kept as a pet in some parts of Europe. Chinese Softshell Turtle is a delicate creature, and as a result, it has been listed as a vulnerable species.
Caucasian Agama (Paralaudakia caucasia)
The Caucasian Agama (Paralaudakia caucasia) is a lizard species found in Turkey, Russia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It grows to an average length of 15 centimeters and weighs around 90 grams. It mainly inhabits deserts, shrublands, and mountain grasslands. It feeds on insects, small vertebrates, berries and flower buds. There is little information on the lizard population, and therefore further research needs to be conducted.
Conservation of Russian Reptiles
Due to the vastness of Russia’s landscape and the variety of climates and terrains it houses, a wide range of reptiles inhabit the country. These species include both venomous and harmless reptiles, aggressive and non-aggressive, big and small alike. Russia maintains a database of all of these vulnerable species and has enacted laws to protect them. The laws prohibit humans from harming the reptiles and illegally collecting the animals from their natural habitats.