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Snakes Species in the UAE

The UAE has many venomous living in both sand desert and rocky mountainous environments. However, not all types are harmful to man as some are non-venomous and snakes in general can also help eliminate rats, mice, lizards and geckos. 

The venomous snakes in the UAE mostly belong to the viper family. These include the sawscale viper, the carpet viper, the false-horned and horned vipers. Vipers can immediately be identified by their triangular shaped heads. For sawscale or carpet viper, if the warning ‘rattle’ is heard, the best thing to do is stop and back away from the direction of the sound. 

Snakes do not have clear vision and would normally prefer to retreat than to attack. When a snake is encountered at any time, the best thing to do is to stand still. In the UAE, snake bites are extremely rare. There are less than 5 reported viper bites in the last 20 years.

Rentokil can offer alternative methods to deter snakes in your area. Our team is ready to respond to your queries.

Adder - Common Viper

(Vipera berus)


  • Dark brown, reddish or black zigzag from head to tail. Spots on sides.
  • Entirely black adders sometimes occur. 55 cm in length.
Life cycle and habits of a Common Viper

Life Cycle

  • Breed once every 2 to 3 years.
  • Litters range from 3 to 20, born in late summer.
  •  Tend to have a timid nature only biting when cornered or alarmed.


  • Seen basking in sunny spots. Heathland, bogs, moorland, woodland edge, rough grassland; sometimes on derelict urban areas and railway banks.
  • Prefer sandy or chalky soils; rare found on clay soils.

Grass snake – Water snake

(Natrix natrix)


  • Olive-green, brown or grey in colour.
  • Neck: yellow or white mark, next to black mark.
  • Black bars down sides, some black spots on top.
  • Markings are occasionally faint.
  • 75 cm in length.
  • Very fast moving but not venomous.
  • Strong swimmers.
Life cycle and habits of a Grass snake – Water snake

Life Cycle

  • Leathery skinned eggs are laid in batches of 8 to 40 in June and July, hatching after 10 weeks.
  • To survive the eggs need to stay in a temperature range of 21 to 28 degrees centigrade, so are often found in rotting vegetation and compost heaps.
  • Not being venomous their defence is to produce garlic smelling fluids from anal glands.


  • Associated with ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, canals, marshes.
  • Travel widely in surrounding habitats: woodland, grassland, low intensity farmland, heathland, derelict urban areas.
  • Can travel long distances.
  • Compost heaps and ponds may attract grass snakes.

Smooth Snake

(Coronella austriaca)


  • Grey or brown in colour.
  • Dark blotches on back, normally in pairs.
  • Dark blotch on head.
  • 55 cm in length.
  • Not venomous.
Life cycle and habits of a Smooth snake

Life Cycle

  • Eggs are buried in sandy soil , in warm places.


  • Secretive, normally found underneath objects.

Slow worm

(Anguis fragilis)


  • Protected lizard species in the UK that is often mistaken for a snake
  • Brown, copper, golden or grey in colour; may have black/dark brown sides and thin stripe on back.
  • Small head, often with dark spot.
  • Very shiny, metallic sheen to scales.
  • Tail often blunt. 35 cm in length, but can be shorter, as they often lose their tails.
Life cycle and habits of a Slow worm

Life Cycle

  • Slow-worms hibernate over the winter.
  • Slow-worms hibernate from mid to late October to late February or early March depending on weather.
  • They do not lay eggs but give birth to live young, from mid-August to late September.


  • Heathland, bogs, moorland, woodland edge, rough grassland; often found in derelict urban areas and on railway banks.
  • Found in gardens with long grass and refuges such as wood piles.
  • May be found in city gardens.

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