Asian Racer

Hemorrhois nummifer

الثعبان الآسيوي

Status: Very common

The Asian racer belongs to the Colubridae family in the Squamata order (suborder Ophidia). A very common non-venomous snake, one of many belonging to the Colubridae family that are present in Palestine. Adult length can reach 1.27 m (body + tail). The Asian racer is mostly nocturnal. This a gray or brownish-gray snake. On its back there are brown or dark gray round spots, which possess light or dark margins. At side of the body there are smaller rounded brown spots. Towards the tail, the spots on the back unite to form a long stripe. The ventral side is light. The head scales are larger than those on the body. Mating season is during the summer. During August the female lays eggs, which hatch in October. The diet includes rodents, reptiles and small birds. Oftentimes this snake steals chicks and young rabbits from human yards. It is considered to be the natural enemy of the Palestinian viper, since it preys on it.
This snake is commonly invading human residences. Frequently this snake, in spite of being non-venomous, is mistaken to be the Palestinian viper, and is killed by humans. It inhibits the Middle East, parts of Asia, Turkey, as well as some of the former Soviet Union.

Conservation status: Least Concern.

In Palestine: it can be found in Mediterranean habitats.

Sites: Beitillu, Umm at-Tut, Wadi Al-Quff nature reserves