The Sahara racer (Platyceps saharicus) is a long, slender snake with a narrow head and black spots below its large eyes. Little other information is available on the appearance of this species, but the colour of its scales becomes more uniform closer to the tail (2).
The Sahara racer has only been considered a separate species to the wadi racer (Platyceps rhodorachis) since 2004 (3).
Very little is known about the biology of the Sahara racer. It is possible that its diet and behaviour resemble those of the closely related wadi racer (P. rhodorachis), which is active during the day or at dawn and dusk, and is a fast, agile hunter. The wadi racer hunts fish, tadpoles and possibly other snakes, and lack venomous fangs, although its saliva may have a mildly toxic effect (4).
As part of the Colubridae family, the Sahara racer is likely to lay eggs (5).
There is little information available on the habitat preferences of the Sahara racer. However, in some locations it has been reported at water holes along riverbeds, in sandy and rocky areas (2). Individuals have been observed both in the water and crawling among rocks beside it (2).
The Sahara racer is not known to be facing any major threats. In the Mediterranean region, this species has been classified as Least Concern (LC) according to IUCN criteria (6), but there is a lack of information on its conservation status across its range.
Geniez, P. and Gauthier, Y. (2008) On the distribution of Platyceps saharicus (Reptilia: Colubridae) in the Sahara. Salamandra, 44(3): 179-180.
Schätti, B. and McCarthy, C. (2004) Saharo-Arabian racers of the Platyceps rhodorachis complex: description of a new species (Reptilia: Squamata: Colubrinae). Revue Suisse de Zoologie, 111(4): 691-705.
Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London.
Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
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