UAE October 2017

For your reports/images, made outside Europe and the "Mediterranean" countries. Not to be too narrow minded and limited to our European/Mediterranean herps.

UAE October 2017

Postby Daniel Kane » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:28 am

After finding some good flights to Dubai two friends and myself visited the United Arab Emirates at the start of October, with the hope of seeing as many different species of reptiles as we could. We used the non-herping time for travelling, snorkelling and watching some interesting mammals and birds of prey which was a nice way to pass the warmest parts of the day.

Temperatures were generally 35-45 C during the day and 30 C or so overnight. Sometimes more, rarely less. Night time especially could be super-humid with fog silently rolling in and soaking everything it touched. Quite a surprise when you look up from photographing some small gecko to realise you can no longer see more than a few metres ahead.

Throughout the week we stayed near both the west and east coasts and camped out in the deserts between. Before travelling out we were fortunate enough to have got in touch with a couple of very nice people who really went out of their way to show us the best of the Arabian fauna. The trip would not have been so enjoyable without them, so thanks very much for that! :D

We hit the ground running on day 1. After meeting our friend who had got a different flight and collecting the rental car we headed out to the east coast. We made it out of Dubai as the sun came up and were at the beach by around 9am. We used the day to snorkel around Dibba where we saw the first green turtles (Chelonia mydas) not very far offshore. After a nice nap on the sun loungers we headed back west to meet two of the guys I'd been taking to prior to the trip. A last-minute hotel change of plan (Sharjah is one of the stricter emirates, as we found out when birth certificates were requested to allow us three men to share a hotel room to prove we were related) we met Glenn and Gareth to herp the desert north of Ajman.

The night was a great success with immediate results. By the end of the night we had come across Hemidactylus robustus, Stenodactylus arabicus, Bunopus tuberculatus, Echis carinatus sochureki, Cerastes gasperettii, Eryx jayakari, Stenodactylus doriae and Diplometopon zarudnyi. Other awesome animals encountered were the scorpion Androctonus crassicauda and the mantid Blepharopsis mendica. We rolled back into our hotel room around 3am and after using the blacklight around the room it was more clear why this hotel may have been more lenient on who stayed in which rooms. The light was intended to show up scorpions more clearly but also functions well on dried organic stains. Lovely.

uae0368.jpg
Bunopus tuberculatus


uae0370.jpg
Echis carinatus sochureki


uae0372.jpg
Cerastes gasperettii


uae0374.jpg
Juvenile Eryx jayakari


uae0377.jpg
Echis tracks heading up the dune


uae0380.jpg
Stenodactylus arabicus forelimb detail


uae0384.jpg
Androctonus crassicauda


uae0385.jpg
Cerastes gasperettii in ambush - note the exposed yellow tail tip


uae0386.jpg
Diplometopon zarudnyi about to make its escape


uae0388.jpg
A smaller one from nearby


uae0389.jpg
Cerastes gasperettii tracks heading up the dune


uae0390.jpg
Cerastes gasperettii - see the condensation covering its body from the heavy fog


Day 2 and we met Priscilla for some daytime wildlife-cruising south of Dubai. the morning looked promising but a fierce wind soon whipped up and that had a real impact on both wildlife encounters and camera functionality. We still had a great time driving around a very large area and sharing stories and a few beers. Notable wildlife highlights from this day were a little owl, Arabain oryx and mountain gazelle.

uae0421.jpg
Habitat


uae0423.jpg
The occupant - Athene noctua


uae0425.jpg
Oryx leucoryx


uae0429.jpg
Oryx leucoryx


That night under a full moon we herped the dunes and counted a grand total of 49 Stenodactylus arabicus, 3 Stenodactylus doriae and 1 Eryx jayakari. Not much else seemed to be moving that night. Plenty of Cheeseman's gerbils and a bad-ass Apistobuthus pterygocercus were seen.

uae0430.jpg
Stenodactylus arabicus


uae0433.jpg
Stenodactylus doriae


uae0436.jpg
Eryx jayakari


uae0438.jpg
Apistobuthus pterygocercus


uae0500.jpg
Apistobuthus pterygocercus


We camped between the dunes and awoke as the sun heated the tents to something volcanic. Time to go. Finding a dying-on-road Rhagheris moilensis wasn't how we planned to start the day but it happened. Surprising considering the volume of traffic here and the fact that temperatures were already close to 40 degrees but I guess the reptiles out here have to be able to take the heat.

uae0440.jpg
Good morning in the desert


Back to the east coast today. Over breakfast we booked a room in Fujairah online. On arrival we were directed to the 23rd-floor suite with more space than most London houses for the grand total of £20 each! Room service biriyanis went down a treat and that night we met with Glenn and Gareth to herp the mountains in search of a complement of herps different from those seen in the previous days. We had success.

It didn't take us long in the first wadi of the night to find our targets - Echis omanensis and Asaccus margaritae. Glenn came up trumps with both of these within about 30 minutes. A single Asaccus gallagheri was seen on the way back to the cars.

uae0443.jpg
Echis omanensis


uae0446.jpg
Echis omanensis


uae0447.jpg
Asaccus margaritae


uae0449.jpg
Asaccus gallagheri


uae0451.jpg
Ptyodactylus orlovi


Now we'd seen those we headed further into the mountains with you-know-what viper on our target list. The guys had been fortunate enough to see 4 individuals in a single night at this location so we had some hope. We spent probably the better part of 4 hours searching up and down the scree slopes and around the larger rocky areas of these mountain faces but to almost no avail. A few Asaccus and a single Trachydactylus hajarensis provided occasional boosts to morale but ultimately weren't what we were after. After we called it a night and began heading down the mountain I saw a snake light up in my beam - too thin to be the target species but as far as the other guys were concerned this was even better. They'd only seen one of these in the past 4 years - Telescopus dhara.

uae0456.jpg
Telescopus dhara


uae0457.jpg
Telescopus dhara - beautiful iridescence


We rolled back into Fujairah around 3am with big smiles and slept well. The next morning we headed to a small wildlife collection in the area and then took a look at the turtles at Khor Kalba. Nice area. The wildlife area here was still out-of-bounds (turtle nesting season, perhaps). We must've seen about 15 green turtles off the bridge here and with a nice breeze it was a decent place to spend an hour or two.

uae0468.jpg
Chelonia mydas


uae0469.jpg
Chelonia mydas


The next day we planned to go to Musandam (Oman) however a mix-up with the travel company meant we did not get picked up from the agreed location and as such missed the day. No problem, back to Dibba and we made do with swimming with more green turtles and black-tipped reef sharks. Not a bad compromise in our books.

We made our way back over to the west side of the country that afternoon and herped around the deserts south of Dubai. This was a very productive night with many of our targets being seen. We saw 5 Teratoscincus keyserlingii whose red eye-shine shone up from as far away as the torch beams would light. Also we came across more Varanus tracks and I found a small Echis carinatus beside some vegetation.

uae0471.jpg
Teratoscincus keyserlingii


uae0472.jpg
Teratoscincus keyserlingii


uae0473.jpg
Teratoscincus keyserlingii juvenile


uae0476.jpg
Teratoscincus keyserlingii


uae0479.jpg
Varanus griseus tracks


uae0481.jpg
Echis carinatus sochureki


We took the second part of our last night some distance further north and had a look for Hemidactylus persicus. On the walk to the cliff site we would be searching we saw the only Stenodactylus leptocosymbotus of the trip. Very nice little geckos and similar to S. doriae - the main visible feature being the greater number of dark bands on the tail of the latter. S. leptocosymbotus also prefers compacted areas of sand or gravel whereas S. doriae lives in more mobile areas of dunes.

uae0489.jpg
Stenodactylus leptocosymbotus


Once we'd scaled the crumbling limestone it didn't take long for Glenn to see the first H. persicus. Very agile geckos and a pleasure to try to photograph, taking care never to step onto anything particularly loose as we were around 20m above the desert floor.

uae0490.jpg
Hemidactylus persicus


As we circled round back to the car we came across a snake I didn't think we would on this trip - the thread snake Myriopholis macrorhyncha. By far the smallest and most delicate snake I've ever come across, and it could really move fast over the sand when it wanted to!

uae0492.jpg
Myriopholis macrorhyncha


uae0494.jpg
Myriopholis macrorhyncha


We wrapped up the night with a few bottles of Savannah Dry and some emotions before the three of us headed back to make camp near where we had been earlier in the week as the next morning we had to say goodbye to one of us. I think we pitched tents around 4am this night. The following day we all flew home. End of a great trip which far exceeded our expectations. 10/10 would recommend.

Species list:

Asaccus gallagheri
Asaccus margaritae
Bunopus tuberculatus
Hemidactylus persicus
Hemidactylus robustus
Ptyodactylus orlovi
Stenodactylus arabicus
Stenodactylus doriae
Stenodactylus leptocosymbotus
Teratoscincus keyserlingii
Trachydactylus hajarensis

Diplometopon zarudnyi

Chelonia mydas

Myriopholis macrorhyncha
Eryx jayakari
Telescopus dhara
Rhagheris moilensis
Cerastes gasperettii
Echis carinatus sochureki
Echis omanensis
Daniel Kane
 
Posts: 363
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:35 pm
Location: London
Hometown: London
country: England

Re: UAE October 2017

Postby Mario Schweiger » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:12 pm

very nice observations and pictures, Daniel :!:
thx for sharing
Mario (Admin)

Please visit also my personal Herp-site vipersgarden.at
User avatar
Mario Schweiger
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2192
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 7:57 pm
Location: Obertrum, Salzburg, Austria
Hometown: Obertrum
country: Austria

Re: UAE October 2017

Postby Frédéric Seyffarth » Sun Oct 15, 2017 6:48 pm

Great report, nice pictures of nice findings.
Thanks for sharing!
Frédéric Seyffarth
 
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:13 pm
Hometown: Husseren-Wesserling
country: France

Re: UAE October 2017

Postby Bobby Bok » Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:07 pm

Albeit hot, you did well and found many iconic desert species! Also nice to read a report from where Laura and I spend part of our honeymoon in summer last year. Then it was near impossible to find some species! Just out of curiousity: did you pay anything for the local help you got?
User avatar
Bobby Bok
 
Posts: 952
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:11 pm
Hometown: Heemskerk
country: Netherlands

Re: UAE October 2017

Postby Daniel Kane » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:18 pm

Thanks, guys. Glad you like the photos.

Bobby, we heard that over some nights in summer it is over 40 degrees and then the herping is tough but doable - just not as much fun! We met up more as friends as two of the guys used to work together. At the end of the week I gave my copy of the Amphibians & Reptiles of Oman and UAE as a token of thanks.
Daniel Kane
 
Posts: 363
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:35 pm
Location: London
Hometown: London
country: England

Re: UAE October 2017

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:17 pm

Daniel Kane wrote:We met up more as friends as two of the guys used to work together. At the end of the week I gave my copy
of the Amphibians & Reptiles of Oman and UAE as a token of thanks.

Glass beads for the natives... (Quoting Hannes Hill or some other of the Austrians, maybe Mario, I forget...)
But as a "native" (which I am, in my homeland) I got quite a few splendid books as "beads" from my guests
from abroad, so, I fully appreciate "glass beads" like that... There is "Amazon", of course, but I would always
prefer a personal present from a visiting friend... That's priceless.
Berislav Horvatic
 
Posts: 1132
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:35 pm
Hometown: Zagreb
country: Croatia

Re: UAE October 2017

Postby Bobby Bok » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:26 pm

Daniel Kane wrote:Bobby, we heard that over some nights in summer it is over 40 degrees and then the herping is tough but doable - just not as much fun!


Yeah, tough business in summer. We found Echis to be common but no sign of any Cerastes sadly. Well, in Israel this year we had more luck ;)

Daniel Kane wrote:We met up more as friends as two of the guys used to work together. At the end of the week I gave my copy of the Amphibians & Reptiles of Oman and UAE as a token of thanks.


Alright, that's cool. Before Laura and I went to the UAE, we contacted someone you also met there and they wanted money to go herping with us. Which we declined of course.
User avatar
Bobby Bok
 
Posts: 952
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:11 pm
Hometown: Heemskerk
country: Netherlands

Re: UAE October 2017

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:20 pm

Bobby Bok wrote:Alright, that's cool. Before Laura and I went to the UAE, we contacted someone you also
met there and they wanted money to go herping with us. Which we declined of course.

Utterly unbelievable (to me, as a "native"), but I do believe you... Bad luck. Bad people.
Try to forget it.
Berislav Horvatic
 
Posts: 1132
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:35 pm
Hometown: Zagreb
country: Croatia

Re: UAE October 2017

Postby Bobby Bok » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:48 pm

Oh no hard feelings or so, just weird that you ask a fellow herper for money. It wouldn't even occur to me.
User avatar
Bobby Bok
 
Posts: 952
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:11 pm
Hometown: Heemskerk
country: Netherlands

Re: UAE October 2017

Postby Berislav Horvatic » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:00 am

Bobby Bok wrote:Oh no hard feelings or so, just weird that you ask a fellow herper for money.
It wouldn't even occur to me.

As I said, "Bad luck. Bad people. Try to forget it." Never had an experience like that. My guests
in the field usually insist to treat me to a dinner after herping together, which I don't refuse, but
it can also be the other way round, if we stay together for a few days... Normal people, normal
behaviour. Sapienti sat.
Berislav Horvatic
 
Posts: 1132
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:35 pm
Hometown: Zagreb
country: Croatia

Next

Return to Herping in the rest of the world

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest