Top 9 Most Terrifying & Dangerous Animals In UAE

A deathstalker scorpion is one of the most dangerous animals in UAE
Photo by מינוזיג from WikiCommons
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For most people, the United Arab Emirates conjures up images of the glitter and sparkle of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. However, leave the skyscrapers and palm-shaped islands behind, along with the city-sized shopping malls and beach resorts, to discover a diverse mosaic of the UAE. Culture, charm, heritage all make up the mesmerizing landscape, topped off with an impressive list of the most dangerous animals in UAE.

Magical spaces roll across the sands towards Suadi Arabia. The jagged Hajar Mountains dominate horizons to the east. The environment is harsh and unforgiving, providing a challenging habitat for flora and fauna.

From spiders and snakes to big cats and bats, the UAE is home to some of the most dangerous animals in the world. While encounters with humans are often rare, it’s worthwhile knowing what’s out there. Most of the species listed are shared across the Middle Eastern nations such as Kuwait and Qatar.

So whether you’re planning an expedition into the desert wilderness, or are simply traveling in your dreams, here are the most dangerous animals in UAE that you need to know about.

Fat-Tailed Scorpion

The black fattailed scorpion is one of the most dangerous animals in UAE and in the world
Photo by Guy Haimovitch from WikiCommons
Latin nameAndroctonus crassicauda
AttacksNeurotoxin sting in the tail
TreatmentAntivenom from a medical professional
Where to findDark and shady places, in homes and on the desert
Conservation statusLeast concern

Fat-tailed scorpions are incredibly dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. They are typically dark with a fat tail, as its name suggests. A fat-tailed scorpion can grow up to 4 inches in length, so spotting them isn’t too difficult.

Its tail is packed with a super-strong toxin that has the potential to be lethal to humans. The neurotoxic components act extremely fast in the body, particularly in victims with existing medical conditions. The toxin attacks the central nervous system, causing paralysis and respiratory failure, within a matter of hours.

The fat-tailed scorpion can be found worldwide. Habitats include arid, semi-arid, desert, tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions with sandy soils. They are often found inside homes and under shady crevices during the hottest hours of the day.

Some consider the fat-tailed scorpion to be one of the most dangerous species of scorpions in the world and is found across the UAE. If you are stung, seek immediate medical attention for anti-venom treatment.

Deathstalker Scorpion

A yellow deathstalker scorpion on the desert floor in UAE
Photo by מינוזיג from WikiCommons
Latin nameLeiurus quinquestriatus
AttacksNeurotoxin sting in the tail
TreatmentAntivenom from a medical professional
Where to findDark and shady places, in deserts
Conservation statusLeast concern

The deathstalker scorpion is another dangerous scorpion species found in the United Arab Emirates. Deathstalker scorpion venom is one of the most expensive liquids in the world, as well as being one of the most deadly. Recent research and studies have shown properties in the venom to be effective in cancer treatment.

However, this doesn’t mean the sting should be ignored. The venom includes strong neurotoxins that can cause anaphylactic reactions in some unfortunate victims. Expect extreme pain from a deathstalker scorpion sting, but most do not result in fatalities.

These yellow desert-dwelling anthropods are found across the Middle East in shaded and dry desert regions. As far as scorpion stings go, the deathstalker is certainly one to avoid. If you accidentally stumble across one, they may attack if they feel threatened. Make sure you seek medical attention just to be on the safe side.

Arabian Horned Viper (Sand Viper)

Sand horned vipers are the most commonly encountered and one of the most dangerous animals in UAE
Photo by Sari Barazi from WikiCommons
Latin nameCerastes cerastes
AttacksSeveral toxins present in potent venom delivered via a bite
TreatmentAntivenom from a medical professional
Where to findDry sand and mountain plains
Conservation statusLeast concern

The Arabian horned viper, also known as the sand viper, is native to sand deserts across Northern Africa and the Middle East. It’s easily identified with a pair of ‘horns’ above the eyes, however, hornless varieties do occur. These snakes average a total length of 30-60cm and are a camouflaged yellowish to pale brown color.

The best environments to find the sand viper is in dry, sandy spaces and mountain plains. The venom can cause serious consequences if bitten, but these snake bites rarely result in death. However, be warned, these snaked are one of the most commonly encountered snake species in the United Arab Emirates.

Despite the fearful appearance, the Arabian horned viper is not an aggressive snake. It is still advised not to approach this snake though. Avoiding snake bites is always the best idea.

Oman Saw-scaled Viper

A close up of a saw-scaled viper, one of the most dangerous animals in UAE to humans
Photo by Dr. Raju Kasambe from WikiCommons
Latin nameEchis omanensis
AttacksPowerful toxins present in potent venom delivered via a bite
TreatmentAntivenom from a medical professional
Where to findAll over UAE in rocky areas
Conservation statusLeast concern

Oman saw-scaled viper is another commonly encountered snake found in UAE. They are found across the country, including coastal areas as well as inland deserts. These snakes are extremely irritable and quick to strike if aggravated.

Similar to rattlesnakes, the saw-scaled viper omits a ‘sizzling’ sound as a warning before it attacks. They vary in length with some being as small as 30cm. But don’t let this small size fool you – they have an aggressive behavior along with an extremely powerful venom that’s lethal to humans.

Toxins in the saw-scaled viper venom are capable of preventing the blood from clotting, potentially causing severe systemic bleeding in victims when bitten. Lucky for us, human isn’t a choice on this snake species menu. They prefer a diet of small amphibians, insects, and smaller mammals.

Samsun Ant

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash
Latin nameBrachyponera sennaarensis
AttacksHigh concentration of formic acid in the bite
TreatmentWash with warm water
Where to findAll over UAE
Conservation statusLeast concern

Ants are all over the world. It’s common knowledge how strong these tiny insects are, as some can famously lift up to 50 times their own body weight. But that’s not what makes the Samsun ant so dangerous to humans.

These 6mm long insects pack a highly concentrated formic acid in their bite. This is used to ward off predators and kill prey.

Ok, so humans aren’t necessarily on this ants hitlist for a meal. However, they aren’t afraid to bite if you sit in their way or brush up against a branch they happen to be on. Reactions to this ant bite can vary depending on the individual. Swelling and intense pain are common side effects, with some cases resulting in anaphylactic shock.

Redback Spider

A redback spider on a branch, one of the most dangerous animals in UAE
Photo by Robertwhyteus from WikiCommons
Latin nameLatrodectus hasselti
AttacksNeurotoxic venom in a bite causing severe pain
TreatmentWash with warm water or seek medical attention
Where to findIn forest areas and shady spaces
Conservation statusLeast concern

There has been an increasing number of redback spider sightings reported in Dubai and other areas of the UAE. Redback spiders are highly venomous and native to Australia. The population increase across Asia and the Middle East is due to the import of fruit and even traveler’s luggage.

The redback spider has a powerful neurotoxic venom. This is highly toxic to humans with bites causing severe pain among other side effects. Pain and swelling from a bite can last as long as several days. Medical professionals may be able to ease the main with antivenom treatment.

Redback spider bites are common occurrences in summer months when people are outdoors gardening – these spiders don’t often leave their webs, so bites happen when we put our hands into their territory. The best way to avoid getting bitten by a redback spider in the United Arab Emirates is to avoid disturbing spider webs with your hands.

United Arab Emirates Red Fox

Photo by Bobinolickal from WikiCommons
Latin nameVulpes vulpes arabica
AttacksCan become infected with rabies and transmit via a bite
TreatmentSeek urgent medical attention for a vaccine
Where to findUrban areas
Conservation statusLeast concern

The Arabian red fox may look inconspicuous, however, they do pose a great threat if threatened when encountered. This fox is commonly seen around cities, raiding garbage bins around dusk and throughout the night. There are three other species that are distributed across the mountains, deserts, and farmlands across the United Arab Emirates.

Generally, foxes are cautious of humans and do their best to avoid us. However, if the fox is infected with rabies then they are likely to act in an unusual manner: walking in circles, limping, and aggression. Rabies is a neurological disease transmitted by bites from infected animals.

A rabid fox can attack unprovoked. If you suffer a bite, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately to receive a vaccine. Once symptoms of the neurological disease begin to show, there is no effective known treatment. Rabies can lead to death.

Arabian Camel

Photo by Jassim Shanavas on Unsplash
Latin nameCamelus dromedarius
AttacksAggressive behavior around mating season, 600kg and a powerful bite
TreatmentMedical assistance depending on the severity of the attack
Where to findAll over UAE
Conservation statusLeast concern

Camels are seen across the United Arab Emirates, mostly domesticated. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous animals in UAE.

Typically camels are calm and curious. However, you should always approach these large mammals cautiously and kindly. Occasionally, their calm nature can turn unpredictably aggressive, especially around rutting season (mating season).

Camels can weigh up to 600kg. So when individuals turn hostile, this is a lot of animal to avoid. They are known to bite multiple times and spit. It’s important to have your wits about you when around camels, and if you sense anything untoward make sure you take several steps back.

Arabian Sand Cat

Photo by Ranjith-chemmad from WikiCommons
Latin nameFelis margarita thinobia
AttacksCan become infected with rabies and transmit via a bite
TreatmentSeek urgent medical attention for a vaccine
Where to findBarren deserts and rocky valleys
Conservation statusNear threatened

The Arabian sand cat, also known as Gordon’s wildcat, is a shy and reclusive animal found in the United Arab Emirates. They are mostly active during the night hours around the barren deserts and rocky valleys. These cats are fearless snake hunters, known to catch and kill the most venomous snakes in the UAE.

Encounters with these wild cats are extremely rare. However, similar to the red fox, the Arabian sand cat could be a carrier for rabies. If they are infected with the virus, they are likely to attack for no reason and could infect you.

If you are fortunate enough to sight an Arabian sand cat in the wild, observe from a distance and do your best not to disturb them.

What is the most dangerous animal in UAE?

The most dangerous animals in UAE are the several snake species found across the country. There are four species of snakes that can give potentially lethal bites: Sindh saw-scaled viper, Arabian horned viper, the Oman carpet viper, and the rare Persian horned viper. These are venomous and deadly.

Are there venomous snakes in UAE?

There are several species of snakes found in the UAE, many of which are venomous. If you are unfortunately attacked by a snake, seek urgent medical attention just as a precautionary measure. The most venomous snakes in the UAE are the saw-scaled viper, Arabian horned viper, the Oman carpet viper, and the rare Persian horned viper.

Are there venomous spiders in UAE?

There are a number of different spiders found in the UAE. The most venomous is the redback spider, native to Australia. While there are few reported bites from the redback spider, this is still one of the most dangerous animals in the UAE and should be avoided at all costs.

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Hi! I'm Abigail, a surfer, traveller, and nature lover. I'm from the UK but have been able to call Bali home for several years. I've backpacked across Australia on a shoestring budget, explored European coastlines, and taken in the sights across the pond and down into South America. My travel wishlist keeps growing the more I explore our perfect planet!