Trans Eurasia travel

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Uzbekistan's diverse natural habitats host all manner of wildlife, from cuckoos and pheasant to jackals and toads. Many of these species are indigenous to the country, and a significant number are endemic.

The central Asian steppe supports the endangered saiga antelope as well as roe deer, wolves, foxes, marmots and badgers. In the western deserts are monitor lizards 1.6m in length, gazelle and a number of species of rodent. The river deltas are home to wild boars, jackals and deer, and the eastern mountains bordering Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are prime habitat for the Alpine ibex, lynx, wild boars, wolves, brown bears and a few particularly camera-shy snow leopards.

Insects found only in Uzbekistan include the butterflies Hyponephele murzini and Melitaea permuta, the grasshopper Conophyma turkestanicum, a long-horned beetle Psilotarsus turkestanicus and a chalcidoid wasp Entedon tobiasi. Other endemic invertebrates include the jumping spiders Yllenus tamdybulak and Yllenus bucharensis, the tree-trunk spider Hersiliola esyunini and the 4cm-long scorpion Orthochirus feti.

Almost as diverse are the species of fish. There are more than 60 types of river fish in Uzbekistan, including the European perch, northern Pike, Turkestan sculpin and the unfortunate Aral trout. The freshwater Dzihunia ilan, a species of loach, is only found in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan has several species of venomous snake, of which the central Asian cobra, found in desert regions, is most dangerous. You should also steer well clear of the poisonous saygak and the four-striped runner.