Pseudocerastes persicus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Viperidae

Scientific Name: Pseudocerastes persicus (Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854)
Common Name(s):
English Perisan Horned Viper
Cerastes persicus Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854
Pseudocerastes bicornis Wall, 1913
Taxonomic Source(s): Uetz, P., Freed, P. and Hošek, J. (eds). 2018. The Reptile Database. Available at: (Accessed: 06 February 2018).
Taxonomic Notes: We provisionally treat Pseudocerastes fieldi Schmidt, 1930, as a distinct species, following Uetz and Hallermann (2010), although in some accounts this is treated as a subspecies of P. persicus (Leviton et al. 1992).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-06-30
Assessor(s): Ananjeva, N., Nilson, G., Anderson, S.C., Andrén, C., Tok, V., Ugurtas, I., Sevinç, M., Böhme, W. & Crochet, P.-A.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N., Temple, H.J. (Global Reptile Assessment Coordinating Team) & Böhm, M., Collen, B., Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Milligan, H.T., Powney, G., Sears, J., Wearn, O.R., Wilson, P., Zamin, T. & Wren, S.
Pseudocerastes persicus is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. However, over-collection is a serious threat and is causing significant declines in local populations. Continued overexploitation could cause this species to be threatened, hence ongoing monitoring of its status is required.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species ranges from northeast Iraq, northwest Iran and southern Azerbaijan to northern Oman, and then east to India. The species is widespread in Iran (Latifi 1991). In Pakistan it ranges as far east as Manguli in southwestern Kalat (Minton 1966). It has been recorded up to 1,800 m above sea level in Pakistan. It might be present in northern Iraq. This species is unlikely to occur in southeast Turkey and northwest Azerbaijan, and presence in these areas needs to be confirmed.
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Azerbaijan; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Kuwait; Oman; Pakistan; Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1800
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species was common in some parts of its range and may still be in less well known areas (G. Nilson pers. comm. 2008).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is present in sandy areas, rocky areas and scrubland (Minton 1966, Latifi 1991). Animals may be found under rocks and in burrows. It prefers to hide in and under bushes. There is seasonal movement following its food source, birds. In the winter, the species occur in higher densities in more suitable habitat (G. Nilson pers. comm. 2008). It is presumably a ovoviviparous species.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is collected for the production of anti venom as well as for the pet trade. In the past, wild specimen were also used for their skins.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In Iran, the greatest threat for this species is over-collection for the production of anti-venom. Because of its habit of congregating in smaller areas of suitable habitat in the winter, it is relatively easy to extirpate local populations. In the case of Snake Mountain (Northern Kavir desert), extensive collecting has made the population, which gave the mountain its name, locally extinct (G. Nilson pers. comm. 2008). This species is also collected for the pet trade in Iran and Turkmenistan. In the past, this species was hunted for its skin to make shoes, purses and other decorative items, but this is no longer a threat, as most of the supply appears to be animals bred in captivity.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in protected areas throughout its distribution. Efforts should be made to ensure that rare species such as P. persicus are not collected for anti-venom production. One solution could be to only pay snake collectors for common species. There is also a growing pet trade market for this species. Monitoring of P. persicus should be carried out to ensure harvest levels do not increase.

Citation: Ananjeva, N., Nilson, G., Anderson, S.C., Andrén, C., Tok, V., Ugurtas, I., Sevinç, M., Böhme, W. & Crochet, P.-A. 2010. Pseudocerastes persicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T164640A5914734. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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