Somalia is an East African country with a hot, dry climate. These conditions have allowed for the existence and thriving of a diverse mixture of reptiles including snakes, crocodiles, skinks, and lizards. Somalia has about 235 species of reptiles who mostly occupy the northern parts of the country. Although many of these species can be found throughout Africa, many are unique to Somalia.
Native Reptiles Of Somalia
Somali puff adder (Bitis arietans somalica)
The Somali puff adder is a venomous snake native to Somalia, as well as Ethiopia and north-eastern Kenya. The Somali puff adder typically grows to about 32-36 inches, with some reaching 75 inches. In Somalia, the viper is found in the Togdheer and Salaxley areas of the country. The snake feeds on small mammals, birds, lizards and amphibians by ambush, attacking at strikingly fast speeds. The snake is nocturnal and has the ability to camouflage.
Schlegel's beaked blind snake (Afrotyphlops schlegelii)
The Schlegel's beaked blind snake is a non-venomous snake endemic to most parts of eastern and southern Africa. This snake’s diet is primarily termites, and its body is covered in 30-44 rows of scales with a prominent snout of about 38 inches. The snake can adapt to various habitats including sand veld, coastal bush, and urban settlements. The oviparous snake lays 12-40 eggs during late spring or summer and hatches five to six weeks later.
Shield-tailed agama (Xenagama taylori)
The shield-tailed agama is a small lizard of less than four inches in length. The lizard has a small shield-like spiny tail which they use for covering their holes in the night to keep away predators. The lizard feeds on insects, grasses, fruits, and berries. Females lay eggs several times during the breeding season and buries them underground until they hatch.
Brahminy blind snake (Indotyphlops braminus)
The non-venomous snake is native to most parts of Africa and Asia. The snake has a transparent scale covering the rudimentary eyes making it impossible for the snake to see. The snake is small and thin with no clear head, and resembles an earthworm. However, it has small scales all over its body. Variant body coloration is evident ranging from shiny silver, gray, dark gray, and purple. Habitats for the Brahminy blind snake include agricultural areas and forests, although the snake has a preference for areas with humid soil.
Somalia’s habitats are under constant pressure from climatic conditions and human activities, endangering the future of these reptiles listed above as well as the Somali carpet viper, Leakey’s saw-scaled viper, Braestrup East African colubrid snake, East African bark gecko, Ragazzi’s cylindrical skink, Somalian desert ringed lizard, Somalian skink, and the painted dwarf gecko.