Animals and Insects of the Sahara Desert

One of the most frequent worries among people who are thinking to come out on the retreat in Morocco (apart from whether it’s safe to travel in Morocco regarding terrorist threats) is whether they’re safe from snakes, spiders or scorpions in the Sahara Desert.

We’ve been running meditation and yoga retreats since 2011 in Morocco and in that time I’ve seen one scorpion, and another woman reported that she saw one before it disappeared into the sands. Over 200 people have now been out with us so that’s a 1% sighting rate and 0% stinging rate!

We’ve never seen a snake of any description and neither have any of the locals I’ve spoken to. You see the occasional spider but nothing to worry about as far as anyone knows.

Scorpions are more active in the summer months anyway which is another bonus of running the yoga retreats in the winter!

In fact, the only invertebrates you’re likely to see are the occasional ant, some flies in the daytime, and the ubiquitous dung beetle who likes to track down every vibration in the sand in the hope it’s camel droppings.

I can’t say with any certainty whether the beetles in the Moroccan Sahara display the ingenuity when it comes to catching morning dew as their counterparts in Namibia.

One sure way to find out what’s in the Sahara is just to examine the tracks left in the sand. You’ll learn to recognize the distinctive traces the mouse leaves behind with its long tail trailing between its paws, the hopping path of birds, and the larger paw prints of desert foxes: small, swift and discreet, I’ve seen one only once as it ran up the slope of an enormous dune with all the agility of a martial artist in a classic Chinese film.

sahara desert fox