Reptiles in the Altyn-Emel National Park are represented by 16 species of lizards, 8 species of snakes and 1 species of turtle.

Mountain areas are inhabited by fewer species than flat areas. On rocky areas up to an altitude of 3000 m, the halys pit viper can be found. In the lower part of the Sholak and Matai mountains, at the bottom of the gorges near the water, the steppes ratsnake and the spotted whip snake, the sand lizard, the kaspischer even-fingered gecko are found. The most numerous is the halys pit viper.

Less reptiles are found in the floodplain of the Ili river, which is inhabited mainly by snakes: the dice snake, the spotted whip snake, the halys pit viper, the common grass snake; of the lizards, the most abundant is the grey thin-toed gecko, the population density of which is the highest in turanga groves.

The largest number of species inhabit areas of the desert located between the mountains and the floodplain of the Ili river. The rubble desert area is poor in species variety: here you can find the steppe tortoise, the sunwatcher toadhead agama, the steppe-runner, the steppe ribbon racer, and the halys pit viper.

A slightly greater variety is observed in the clay desert - here, the steppe agama and the kaspischer even-fingered gecko are added to the species of the rubble desert. On the border with the sandy massifs, the rapid and the medial racerunners appear. On clays between sand dunes and in inter-ridge depressions, the number of racerunners sharply increases. On the fluttering tops of dunes and ridges, the secret toadhead agama and the reticulate racerunner are common, and in some places are numerous. On the overgrown areas, the striped racerunner, the tartar sand boa, and the steppe ribbon racer are found.

One species is included in the Red Book of Kazakhstan - the Alferaki's toadhead agama, which inhabits mainly rubble deserts in the Altyn-Emel National Park.


1. Kaspischer Even-Fingered Gecko – Alsophylax pipiens. It is found in the floodplain forests of the Ili river, where it lives on the trunks of old trees of turanga, as well as on the foothills of xerophytic mountains in stone taluses, human buildings.

2. Grey Thin-Toed Gecko – Mediodactylus russowii. Inhabits the cracks of the rocks in the lower part of the Sholak, Degeres, Katutau mountain gorges. Also found on trees in turanga groves.

3. Common Wonder Gecko – Teratoscincus scincus. Lives in the scattered sands of the eastern part of the national park, which stretch along the floodplain of the Ili river, and also on the Singing Dune.

4. Steppe Agama – Trapelus sanguinolentus. It is found almost throughout the territory of the national park up to heights of 800-1000 m in clay and sandy deserts with bushes of calligonum and saxaul.

5. Spotted Toadhead Agama – Phrynocephalus kuschakewitschi. It is found only in sandy massifs, presumably only in the westernmost part of the national park.

6. Alferaki's Toadhead Agama*Phrynocephalus alpherakii. Within the limits of the national park it inhabits mainly gravelly deserts. To the east, it is also found in sandy massifs. It is listed in the Red Book of Kazakhstan as a species found in a limited area.

7. Sunwatcher Toadhead Agama – Phrynocephalus helioscopus. A widespread species in Altyn-Emel. Inhabits mainly rubble foothill plains.

8. Secret Toadhead Agama – Phrynocephalus mystaceus. Inhabits open sands and scattered dunes, as well as the Singing Dune.

9. Desert Lidless Skink – Ablepharus deserti. Inhabits the rocky slopes of the Sholak Mountains.

10. Steppe-Runner – Eremias arguta. Inhabitant of clay-gravelly foothills, widespread in the Konyrolen valley at altitudes of 1000-1500 m.

11. Reticulate Racerunner – Eremias grammica. Lives in open sandy massifs of the eastern part of the national park along the Ili river and on the Singing Dune.

12. Medial Racerunner  – Eremias intermedia. For the territory of the national park it is known only from the area of the Singing Dune.

13. Striped Racerunner – Eremias lineolata. Inhabits sands along the Ili river and the northern bank of Kapchagai.

14. Sand Racerunner – Eremias scripta. A strict psammophile (living in sands), in the national park it is registered only on the Singing Dune so far.

15. Rapid Racerunner – Eremias velox. An abundant species, inhabits clay, gravelly and sandy desert places.

16. Sand Lizard – Lacerta agilis. It is found only in the mountainous part of the national park at altitudes of more than 1000-1200 m among thickets of wild rose, caragana and other shrubs.

Mediodactylus Russowii

Grey Thin-Toed Gecko – Mediodactylus russowii.

Trapelus Sanguinolentus

Steppe AgamaTrapelus sanguinolentus.

Phrynocephalus Alpherakii

Alferaki's Toadhead Agama*Phrynocephalus alpherakii.

Phrynocephalus Helioscopus

Sunwathcer Toadhead Agama – Phrynocephalus helioscopus.

Phrynocephalus Mystaceus

Secret Toadhead AgamaPhrynocephalus mystaceus.


1. Tartar Sand Boa – Eryx tataricus. An abundant species inhabiting various places - clayey, gravelly, sandy deserts, also enters the gardens and posts.

2. Spotted Whip Snake – Hemorrhois ravergieri. Inhabits rocky slopes and rocks overgrown with bushes, as well as ravines, river and lake banks. It is found in the mountains up to heights of 2500 m.

3. Steppes Ratsnake – Elaphe dione. Prefers river floodplains, mountain slopes up to 1800 m, overgrown with shrub vegetation.

4. Common Grass Snake – Natrix natrix. Inhabits river banks, mainly along the Ili river.

5. Dice Snake – Natrix tessellata. It inhabits river banks, is numerous along the banks of the Ili river, also was found near the Borokhudzir river (Dzhungarian Alatau).

6. Steppe Ribbon Racer – Psammophis lineolatus. A common species of the national park deserts.

7. Halys Pit Viper – Gloydius halys. Inhabits various places: clayey, gravelly plains, saline soils, fixed sands. In the national park, it is found mainly in the foothills of Sholak, the Altyn-Emel ridge on slopes with rare bushes, on rocks and talus.

8. Steppe Viper – Vipera (Pelias) renardi. Inhabits clayey semi-deserts and steppes, saline meadows, river banks, including those overgrown with reed and tamarisk.

There are 2 types of poisonous snakes on the territory of the Altyn-Emel National Park.

Gloydius Halys

Halys Pit Viper – Gloydius halys.

Vipera Renardi

Steppe ViperVipera (Pelias) renardi.


In Altyn-Emel, only one species of turtle is found. This is the Horsfield's tortoise, or Kazakhstan Steppe Tortoise, or Central Asian Tortoise - Agrionemys horsfieldii. It is included in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a vulnerable species.

Agrionemys Horsfieldii

Kazakhstan Steppe Tortoise Agrionemys horsfieldii.

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