Iran's Wildlife: Threats and Marvels"
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Don’t be fooled by this crocodile’s short snout; try to stay away from the marshlands or wetlands of Sistan. Given the decreasing number of animals in wetlands globally, mugger crocodiles are often hungry and show no mercy in their quest to satisfy their hunger. You might not believe it, but many people from Sistan and Baluchistan, especially from towns like Sarbaz, take some food for the crocodiles before approaching the wetlands. They feed them until they’re full and then enjoy their time there. When these crocodiles are complete, they rest in the water and don’t bother humans. However, if you have a small child, it’s better not to approach the wetlands. Crocodiles have little patience, and they might interpret a child’s mischief as a form of threat or provocation and could attack. Due to their smaller size, these crocodiles typically prey on creatures smaller than themselves. There have been reports of attacks by mugger crocodiles in Sistan and Baluchistan on children. Sadly, in an incident in 2016 (1395 in the Iranian calendar), a 10-year-old boy was killed by a crocodile. In 2019 (1398 in the Iranian calendar), there was also news of another young girl whose hand was swallowed by a crocodile.
The Saw-Scaled Viper is one of the types of snakes in Iran known as one of the four deadliest snakes in the world that can quickly incapacitate a human. Almost 70 species of snakes have been identified in Iran, and thousands of other species exist in other parts of the world. Still, the Saw-Scaled Viper, scientifically and known initially as Echis, is recognized as one of the deadliest reptiles. Most snakes will not attack humans unless they feel threatened. Many snakes try to escape and hide in the ground or rocks when they sense danger. This behavior is also observed among poisonous snakes. However, the Saw-Scaled Viper does not wait for trouble. It becomes aggressive as soon as it senses another creature nearby. This aggressive behavior is observed in a limited number of venomous snakes, and it’s worth noting that one such species exists in Iran. While we’ve discussed the dangers of this snake species, it’s essential to highlight its venom’s significant value in pharmaceutical research and laboratory studies.
Introducing a small viper snake alongside a crocodile shows that it isn’t just the size of an animal that can indicate its danger. However, the Asiatic Black Bear’s large and heavy stature is a significant indicator of its dangerous and wild nature. Unfortunately, the Asiatic Black Bear lives in southeast Iran and is an endangered species. It might be hard to believe, but this bear can run up to 40 kilometers per hour and hunt down live prey trying to escape. There is also a species of brown bear in Zanjan province, which is more prominent in size and weight. However, since it isn’t as agile and strong as the black bear, it isn’t typically classified as dangerous. A similar species of the Asiatic Black Bear is also observed in the Americas, which is very agile and wild. The difference between these breeds is the white mark seen on the muzzle of the Asiatic Black Bear.
The Persian Cheetah is one of the species that has garnered the most attention in the media regarding Iranian animals over the past decade. Regrettably, the Persian Cheetah is endangered, and despite the enactment of severe penalties for killing or hunting them, the extinction trend is accelerating. Cheetahs are among the fastest animals in the world. The Persian Cheetah can reach speeds of over 112 kilometers per hour. This cheetah has never posed a threat to humans, and if it is recognized as one of the most dangerous animals in Iran, it is solely due to its immense power and speed when hunting prey. The hunting process by cheetahs might take over an hour, as they do not hunt during the nighttime in the dark. They wait for daylight and then proceed to find their prey. Initially, they identify the game and then spend an hour approaching it. They never hunt the prey abruptly without getting close to it. This behavior requires a cheetah to spend more than one or several hours tracking a single game. It’s fascinating that cheetahs so thoroughly strategize their hunting plan in their minds that they capture their game with minimal error.