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Iran Desert Animals | Deadly, Endangered & Beautiful

Artin Travel > Blog > Iran Desert Animals | Deadly, Endangered & Beautiful

Iran Desert Animals (Amazing Diversity)

  Iran desert animals are unique, rare, and occasionally even dangerous! Species of mammals, birds, and reptiles that inhabit these deserted lands are just on the list of amazingly adapted animals. The black fat-tailed Scorpion, the Asiatic Cheetah, and the Caracal are just some of these Iran desert animals. To read on all Iran desert animals need a lifetime and more! That is why we narrowed down the list of these fascinating animals to:

  • The desert animals you will most probably encounter upon venturing any of the deserts of Iran
  • Animals found in two of the most popular and most visited deserts in Iran: The Mesr desert and the Lut desert

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Despite the common belief about the flora and fauna of Iran deserts, these drylands are brimming with various animal species! Nowadays, most of these animals inhabit the protected national parks of Iran, and can only be sighted by those traveling with certified guides on special wildlife tours. This is done so that tourism is developed in a sustainable fashion, and the local life and their natural environments are conserved.

What you should most expect: snakes!

One of the most dangerous, yet alluring creatures that can be found abundantly in most Iran deserts the snake! Snakes’ diversity has always been impressive in these drylands, and poisonous subspecies of these reptiles roam Iran deserts as frequently as the non-venomous ones.

11What you should most expect snakes
11European cat snake in Iran deserts

Small but Powerful: European Cat Snake

Among the most famous ones of the venomous subtype, is the European cat snake also called the Soosan snake. Although this small and mildly venomous reptile is found in different environments, they seem to have adapted well to the hot and arid climate of deserts.

They have cat-like pupils, and although they are mildly venomous with short, rare fangs, their venom can’t harm humans. Soosan snakes mostly come out at night, as they are nocturnal hunters and prey on smaller animals.

Echis, The Venomous Viper

Echis, or the Saw-Scaled viper is another poisonous and, rather dangerous snake. This reptile is found in the hot lands of Iran, most famously in the beautiful sandy lands of Maranjab desert. Because of its unique nature and the vast night sky, many travelers visit Maranjab yearly and, if they are not traveling with a certified guide, they may be in danger of coming back home with swollen ankles. This patterned snake is also called the Red Carpet viper; this snake has a signature noise it makes as a threat to anyone who dares gets close to him. These species produce this noise by rubbing their oblique scales together and looping their body into an S-shaped pose. Saw-scaled vipers are known for causing numerous snakebites each year, and it is recommended that you steer clear of these cold-blooded creatures.

11the viper snake inhabitant of Iran deserts
11monitor lizards hunting a goat- Iran desert animals

Beware of The Deadly Monitor Lizard 

The list of Iran desert animals though includes a far greater number of beasts and various creatures aside from snakes. But since we’re on the topic of reptiles, it is worth mentioning that one of the rarest animals on the list is the Monitor lizard. This lizard has a forked, snake-like tongue, a long tail, and a moderately heavy body. Some subspecies of this reptile grow to be as large as 3 meters, and some are no larger than 20 cm. There are different beliefs and stories about them among villagers, among which are tales of this lizard’s venomous skin and its bad omen. 

11Chinkara in iran deserts

The Majestic and Sand colored Gazelle: Chinkara

As intimidating as the list slowly but surely got, harmless Iran desert animals are just as frequent as the dangerous ones. The beautiful tan-colored Chinkara is one of these harmless mammals roaming the deserts of Iran. If you ever crossed the drylands of the hottest desert of the world, the Lut desert, you may be lucky enough to spot one of these beautiful gazelles.

Chinkaras are known for their long, agile legs which can carry them as fast as 60 km./h. Chinkaras are native of Iran, Afghanistan, and India. Naybandan and Kharturan National parks are two regions with the most density of Chinkaras population. This nimble gazelle’s natural predator is, no other than the fastest land animal: The Cheetah.

What animals only live in Iran?
Iran’s living fauna includes 34 bat species, Indian grey mongoose, small Indian mongoose, golden jackal, Indian wolf, foxes, striped hyena, leopard, Eurasian lynx, brown bear and Asian black bear. Ungulate species include wild boar, urial, Armenian mouflon, red deer, and goitered gazelle.
11Asiati cheeta and its four cubs in Golestan national park

Fastest Land Animal: The Asiatic Cheetah

Nowadays, the Asiatic Cheetah is only found in central parts of Iran (mostly in Kavir national park) and is gravely endangered even inside these protected lands. To enter this national park, travelers must attain legal permission and be accompanied by a forester, or and any expert tour guide.

These big cats are not very different from their better known African cousins, at least as far as physical appearance goes. Some observers have argued that Asiatic Cheetahs have a slenderer shape and slightly longer legs. And so, they are faster than African Cheetahs. But of course, there has been no instance in which this has been put to test and so, merely a speculation at this point.

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The Dark Maned Wild Goat

Another one of the harmless and, sadly endangered animals on the list of Iran desert animals is the Wild Goat. This tan-colored, horned animal is the wild predecessor of the domestic goat. It usually lives in big hordes and is a frequent inhabitant of the high, hard to access areas of land. The Haftad Gholleh national park in central Iran is home to some of the remaining numbers of this mammal, and visitors get to see these animals each year through environmentally safe tours. Aside from the fact that Wild Goats were hunted down by humans and killed by dogs, wolves, and leopards; goat kids are also often the target of predators like coyotes, wild dogs, and the Golden eagle.

11wild goat in Iran national parks
11golden eagle flying over Iran deserts

Elegant and Revered: The Golden Eagle

The golden eagle is the majestic resident of Alborz and Zagros mountain chains and almost all deserts in Iran. This great bird, with wings larger than 2 meters at times, soar the skies and preys on smaller mammals. Squirrels, rabbits, and ferrets are the animals that usually appear on this eagle’s diet.

The Golden eagle is one the most popular birds among birding enthusiasts and is sighted at different times of the year through birding tours in Iran. These tours are especially favored by birders as Iran deserts host a great number of birds aside from the Golden eagle, such as the Crested lark, Kentish plover, Hen harrier, See-see partridge, and Pleske’s ground jay.

Small but Lethal: The Red Back Spider

The Red Back spider, more commonly called the Black Widow spider is a frequently sighted Arthropod in Iran. Make no mistake, as its great number is by no means a sign of its domesticity. This spider is venomous and, on occasions, can gravely harm the human body if it bites.


The reason for this species’ queer name is, as is generally known, is because the female spider devours its mate after coupling to better nourish her babies. These lethal Iran desert animals are mostly seen in eastern regions of Iran and, thankfully, tend to avoid humans as much as they can.

Deadly Scorpion of Iran Deserts

This arachnid is a nocturnal predator and is guided by its sensory hairs to find prey. Their common foods are some species of spiders, lizards, various types of insects, and even other scorpions. The Black Fat Tail scorpion stings its prey, causing it to be paralyzed and immobile. This way, they can consume their food with the least amount of trouble. 

The Deadly Hemiscorpius

Going back to the list of dangerous Iran desert animals, Hemiscorpius is one of the most dangerous scorpions from a scorpion family with a similar name. They are usually seen in the south and southwest of Iran, namely the Kavir desert, and may even prove to be deadly!

Although the number of casualties from scorpion stings is no more than 6 or 7 people a year, it is still recommended that you steer clear of these small predators. The Hemiscorpius grows to be about 5-8cm long and has a sandy color to its body.


The Queer Lizard: Snake-eyed Skink

The Four Legged Snake is another reptile inhabiting the deserts of Iran. This lizard’s similarity to snakes does not end in its name, as the physical characteristics of Skink resemble snakes closely. They have transparent scales covering their eyes, and have a great variety of colors!

Snake-eyed Skinks are found generally in Iran’s central-west regions and are usually no larger than 20cm. habitat loss from land clearing, death on the road, and predators like foxes and dogs are some of the general threats to this lizard.

snake skink

The Black Predator: Fat Tail Scorpion

The Fat Tail Scorpion is another member of the scorpion family inhabiting the deserts of Iran. Although this dark-colored creature is not native to the middle east, its numbers in Iran are noticeable on its own! Some parts of this scorpion’s body are darker than other parts, which normally look reddish or dark brown.

It has a very strong and resistant exterior from head to tail, which protects it against the strong wind of the desert. The Fat Tail scorpion is also considered one of the most dangerous of its kind in the world.

fattail scorpion in Iran deserts



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11Lut desert animals dangerous wildlife Iran

Desert Animals of Lut: the hottest desert in the world

This UNESCO world heritage site is one of the most famous deserts in Iran. the hyper-arid climate, coupled with the mesmerizing and huge land formations of this desert have made it a popular spot among everyone with an eye for beauty.

Even though the temperature inside this desert has reached as hot as 70 on summer days, life still exists in Lut. Many people wrongly believed that no form of life can be sustained in Lut. That was until researchers and scientists spotted amazing examples of life in this desert. 

The Sandy Dweller of Lut: The Ruppel’s Fox

One of the Iran desert animals sighted in this great sand land is the Ruppel’s fox (named after the German naturalist Eduard Ruppel). Also called the Sandy fox, this small predator usually has a sandy coat or a silvery gray coat with black patches on its face.

To see this beautiful creature, you will need to be very patient since these pointy-eared carnivores do not show up during the daylight and as long as the sun shines in the sky. This is because of the unbearably hot weather during the day. Getting an opportunity to see the Sandy fox is absolutely worth camping in the Lut desert. An additional bonus is the beautiful night-sky you will feast your eyes on!

11Caracal in Iran deserts deadly animal Karakal

The African Golden Cat: The Caracal

Caracal is another big cat roaming the Lut desert of Iran. This powerful hunter has a sleek, streamlined body and a tawny or golden coat. Its large, pointy ears are tipped with black and tufted, which are considered a trademark of the species. These big cats are opportunistic hunters with exceptional senses.

They often go after whatever animal they can find including birds, rodents, mongooses, and even small monkeys. Since this species of lynxes is legally protected throughout most of its range, there is not much that threatens it. And it is for this reason that not every traveler can get a glimpse of this animal, as seeing the Caracal and other protected Iran desert animals are only possible through one of the adventure tours designed to take you deep into nature.

11Desert animals in Kavir-Mesr
11Unique fox in the Lut Desert
11Kavir national park and hyenas

Desert Animals of Mesr: Iran’s Golden Den

Not very far from the grand city of art and culture, Isfahan city is the beautiful Mesr desert. This dryland’s raw beauty and inherent natural charm has made it very popular with tourists, as well as locals. Aside from the gorgeous sand dunes and golden, seemingly endless landscape, collections of wonderful animal species live in the Mesr desert.

What’s the most dangerous animal in Iran?
Iran has plenty of big cats, ungulates (hoofed mammals), rodents, reptiles, and migrating birds. The country seems to be particularly rich in bats as well. What is the most dangerous animal in Iran? The most dangerous animals might be scorpions or snakes, including the very venomous and aggressive saw-scaled viper.

Jerboa, the Adorable dweller of Mesr

Jerboa is an important member of the Mesr wildlife family. These small rodents are amazingly adapted to harsh environments and arid climates. They are sandy colored and very small and resemble a cute but hybrid mouse. Their tails are longer than the length of their body, and they use it to hop their way around and support their weight. These adorable Iran desert animals’ diet usually includes plants, seeds, and insects, and they are considered solitary animals. When pursued, jerboas can reach speeds of up to 24 km/h. 

Red Gerra

Red Gerra, known as Dr. Fish or Nibbler fish is found in a lake near the Mesr Desert, and is one of the popular habitats of this lake near Mesr! Curious tourists and travelers who have heard tales of this incredible fish’s skincare reputation visit this lake yearly. Red Gera is very well known for its ability to graze on useless pores and skin cells on people. For this reason, they are also found in many clinics, and used as spa remedies! This fish is a talented jumper and climber and can be as big as 24 cm (9.5 in). Doctor Fish alone is one of the touristic attractions of the village of Garmeh near Mesr desert

11jerboa in lut desert- Iran desert animals-

Tips on dealing with risks

Since forewarned is forearmed, here are some tips you may find useful if you are planning on visiting any of the Iran desert animals mentioned above and traveling the deserts of Iran.

  • Dressing appropriately is very important for any desert traveler. Remember that the weather will most probably be extremely hot during the day and bone-chillingly cold at night. Wear light clothes but don’t forget to bring a couple of extra jackets if you are planning on camping in Iran deserts.


  • Check out the weather in advance, so you can be prepared for any sudden changes. It is important to plan ahead before starting out on your Iran desert tour and know exactly when and where you are headed.


  • Common Iran desert insects are: spiders, stink bugs, Mosquitos, velvet ants, red ants, and desert termites. To avoid these desert bugs, you may want to try wearing clothes treated with Permethrin. Wearing these clothes is much easier than spraying insect repellent on your skin!


  • Dehydration in the desert has always been a persistent problem, and can even prove to be dangerous if you have chosen an Iran desert biking tour or even a hiking journey. Bring at least a gallon of water per person for each day you are planning on staying there.


  • Remember to only venture into the desert with an experienced guide by your side. Getting disoriented in a desert environment is very easy, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.


  • Never forget that distances tend to be deceptive. What may look like only a 5-mile walk may actually be 20 miles in the desert.

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11Desert animals Iran sustainable tourism

Environmental Protection & Sustainable Tourism

Protecting the planet and saving wildlife is definitely in hands of human beings, and although local people play a crucial role in this, a great part of it lays in the hands of tourists. 

Despite what many people think, life is abundant in desert areas and completely adapted to its harsh environment. It is important to remember that, when traveling in the desert, preserving the environment as it is must always be our top priority and concern.

We recommend traveling to intact resorts with local foresters or environment specialists even if you are traveling with a group. This way, you will be doing Iran desert animals and their habitats a great service!

Responsible Tourism

Achieving sustainable tourism is a continuous process and requires constant monitoring of impact. We must be very careful while traveling to any Iran desert destinations, where not only animals but plant species are also endangered. Even breaking a small branch or burning a tussock or a straw influences the fragile ecosystem of deserts. With help from the educated nature tour guides and the local people, the natural heritage and biodiversity of most natural places in Iran are conserved.

Iran Desert Animals: FAQ

Which animals are found in Iran?

Wild species like Cheetah, gazelle, Fox, Caracal, and bears to domestic species like horse, cattle, camel, and buffalos are found in Iran. This country is a vast land with different types of the ecosystems and is thus home to a great number of animals.

Where are the best places to see Iran wildlife?

Iran deserts, forests, and mountains are all essential habitats for a rich variety of wildlife, but the best place to see Iran animals are the protected areas and national parks of this country. Adventure tours are also designed to take you on a tour to Iran’s wildlife highlights without damaging the ecosystem.

Is Iran a desert country?

Only about %20 of Iran’s land is covered with deserts like the great Lut desert and Kavir desert, which are habitats of a great variety of desert animals. However, Iran is not a desert country as mountains, lakes, forests and beaches make up a great part of the country.

Are Iran desert animals dangerous?

Some Iran desert animals are among the most dangerous animals in the middle-east, and some are as harmless as a dove. Snakes, Scorpions, Wolves, and the Monitor Lizard are among the most dangerous Iran desert animals.

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