Insects, pests, dangers at beach?

I was wondering what types of insects live in Doha. I figured that mosquitoes would not be problem because of the desert. True? Also are scorpions a problem in the city or only in rural areas? What about roaches and mice/rats? Fireants?

What about at the beaches? I read in a book that the marine animals in Qatari waters are so dangerous that a lot of people don't go in the water. It mentioned dragonfish, stonefish, sea snakes, and jellyfish. It said that stonefish are found in shallow waters and if you step one, the poison is strong enough to kill you. This worries me especially since our little grandchild will want to play at the beach.

We will be moving to Doha in a few months and I would appreciate comments from those who actually live there. Do you feel safe taking your family to the beach?



Your fears are very understandable. There are poisonous fish and jellyfish in Qatar waters. However, if you stay by the sandy beaches the chances of coming across any of these are very low. Exercise caution - jellyfish are seasonal and not a year-round presence, and if you see them in the water - stay out. If you are camping on the rocky beach make sure you and your family members wear protective footwear - this is usually enough to avoid spiky stonefish (which is very very rare, by the way). However, most beaches in Qatar are sandy so no such thing may be necessary. I think the waters in Qatar are generally very safe. I have never taken any precautions and nothing ever happened. I have come across jellyfish in the water but they are very easy to avoid. And I haven't heard any cases of people being seriously injured or killed by any sea creatures. I am sure you will enjoy the beaches here :-)

Hi Ferrin,

Yeah, the waters in Qatar are safe. But better safe than sorry, so do wear protective foot wear on the beach, esp for the wee ones.

As for insects - Don't be fooled; lots of mozzies (mosquitoes) here after the rains or ex-marsh lands (i.e Aziziya, Al Waab, etc). But again this is seasonal and locational.

Roaches can be a menace but the pest control can solve that if you find any meandering about. I would give you municipality's number but I dont have it on me right now. Mice - heard they exist - last time I saw one was in circa 1990 At the doha cinema, and I thought my neice was playig footsie with me.........................

Ferrin - your grandchild will have a great time at the beach. Just please dont forget to douse him/her with lots of sun bloc. Its the sun I am more worried about!

what about the electric fish ... i have heard about that

i must say after hearing all of this i am afraid to go in the water ...

what is the difference between doha and dubai waters ... cos i have not heard of anything like that there?

dont forget about sharks ... (i have actually heard rumours about that)

once again which book is this?

i have heard of jellyfish at times of year and rumours of sea snakes ... but have not heard of any near fatal experience .. please correct me

i think qataris for centuries made their living as pearl divers and i dont think they suffered under the "Stonefish Plague"

They were helpful. The book is "Qatar" by Terri Willis (2004).

I have never heard of electric eels in Qatari waters.

Lion (chicken) fish if you go further out.

February to April sea snakes breed and will attack anything. Generally speaking, if you present them with a fist they have such a small haed that they cannot find anywhere to bite. Give them an open handed push and they will have you between the fingers.

Our kids almost grew up on the beach it's as safe as houses and I'm sure your grandkid will enjoy it.

Scorpions......we only saw two in 17 years (apart from at the zoo).

Roaches can be a problem as they are quick (known as Bombay Runners)and the flies bite at times

I heard there used to be hammerhead sharks but they've all but disappeared since 1991 or so (don't like the bombings a little further up the Gulf). Haven't seen a sea snake yet, and I've been going to the beach almost every weekend since April. Only fish I've seen are flying fish, and granted those can be dangerous, my brother got wacked in the head by one :) It was the funniest thing ever.

I was stung by a Jellyfish last weekend and I found it hurt less than their bigger North American brethern. Only problem with the jellyfish here is that they are totally transparent and you can't see them unless you look closley. But the water is getting to warm to go swimming now anyway.

Mosquitos are common if you have a garden (they like the water) but I don't find they bite as much as North American mosquitoes. Cockroaches can be a problem, but they don't hurt they're just gross. Too many stray cats for there to be mice or rats.

Only thing I would warn your grandchildren about is staying away from the stray cats.

THATs funny ..."hammerhead sharks but they've all but disappeared since 1991 or so (don't like the bombings a little further up the Gulf)" yep hammerhead sharks you know they dont like bombings, you know its dangerous and it disturbs their peaceful nature.

Lionfish ... i googled it and im scared

Hammerhead sharks, sea snakes, transparent jellyfish, flying fish, lionfish sounds like the Great Barrier reef. I honestly never think im going into Qatari waters again. Thank you all .. :)

so is this also the case with Dubai and other Gulf waters or is it just Qatar?

Laudgi7 if you google waters off Nova Scotia Canada you would find that we have Great White Sharks, Greenland sharks, Maco sharks, Orca Whales,Whale sharks, Harbour seals, huge red jellyfish, eels, codfish etc etc etc. Do you know how many of these I've actually seen while swimming in the oceans off Canada? Zero,(except jellyfish) which (with the exception of the absolutely not dangerous flying fish unless you're my brother) is exactly how many hammerheads and snakes I've seen here.

The water is perfectly safe, this isn't the Great Barrier reef, in fact I wish it was, it would make the snorkling better.

LoL - I just read everyone's posting and laughed my head off! Poor Ferrin..we are painting a pretty grim picture! Ferrin- its us you should be more scared of!! (evil laugh #3456)

So many of us have lived here for years and which place doesn't have insects or dodgy sea creatures? Just watch out for the sun and the occasional hormone-fused teen driving around in his four wheel drive on the dunes............

I have to laugh, I'm sitting in my office right now listening to my co worker talk about the three football sized rats that tried to crawl in through his fan vents last night. EEEEEWWWW!

I will take back what I said about the rats, there are some, and apprantely to survive they must be bigger than the cats. Yuck.

True story: 4 years ago a friend of mine told me how someone she knew who was working in the admin dept at the Sheraton came shrieking out of the ladies loo! Apparently she noticed a rat swimming around in the bog just as she was about to relieve her self. When she complained to a co-worker, the lady said, "Well Thank God it didn't bite your bum!" ............

I've been here nearly 6 months and I have yet to see a mosquito. If there were any around they would have found me! Never mind the stonefish, on the beach you will need footwear to protect against broken glass and other litter. Bring you favourite sun protection product. In Doha you can get Nivea or Nivea.

In Doha you can get any brand of sun protection from cheaper Banana Boat, Tropical Paradise and Nivea (the list goes on) to high end Clinique, Clarins and the like. Then we have specialised brands like Body Shop or RoC or Garnier - some of these have their own stores, and some others are sold in the pharmacies. The cheaper ones are sold in all supermarkets in abundance, and the designer ones are usually found in cosmetics outlets of department stores.

Number one danger on the beach is stupid 4x4/quad bike drivers! quickly followed by the amount of garabe that visitors to the beach kindly leave behind in black bags for the foxes to redistribute.

There are numerous species of shark in qatari waters, no records of attacks that i know of and likely never will be.

Sea snakes wouldn't bite you unless you harass them - then you probably deserve it!

Stonefish, stingrays etc. are prety rare for beach paddlers and general move away before you get ontop of them.

Jellyfish - these are a potneital problem especially for those with sensitive skin. Wear a lycra jumpsuit, you can get them that have good SPF aswell thus protecting from sunburn.

The best beaches are in the north (east) and also in the south at the inland Sea (Khor Al-Adaid). Zekreet is also a nice drive with isolated beaches.

Best wishes,

An educated Marine Biologist.

I agree with Qatar Cat that Nivea is available in the supermarkets and sometimes I can find Banana Boat and Tropical Paradise products, although often only low protection factors are in stock and in this climate a SPF in single figures is a waste of space. I'm not interested in 'designer' products which are even more over-priced than the regular ones. So where can I find Ambre Solaire, Piz Buin, NO-AD or my favourite Malibu dry oil which doesn't leave your skin yukky and greasy? I've found a better choice of sun protection products in the UK in the winter than I've found here.

Try Giant Stores and MegaMart for all the brands you listed.


I haven't seen these products in Megamart at Landmark but I'll look again and try Giant too. Thanks.

Try the MegaMart at the Center, and also the supermarket at the Mall is a good place to get stuff like that. Good luck!


i would say that there are mosquitoes and scorpions in the city i fid a scorpion in my house every summer and that dangerous sea here in qatar is nonsense there are snakes and sharks but the rarely attack you. qatar is safe dont worry

The ants here bite and there are plenty of those buggers around.

I go to the beach often and have never seen a jellyfish although I have a Qatari friend who was stung by one and it left him with one wicked scar.

Other than that I have never heard of an incident at the beach other than ones that involve quad bikes.

We do wear beach shoes because of the stone fish. Nike and Timberland make some really nice ones and they are quite stylish :P .


Brazilian Jujitsu in Qatar

I forgot, there are mosquitoes but they aren't overly aggressive like the ants.


Brazilian Jujitsu in Qatar

breed between February and April and will attack anything so take care during those months.

No insects are here, it is counter proved that there are no birds here as well (very very few live here). Dont worry about them.

Dont know about sea creatures here.

I don't think starfish stinks. May be you are referring to "sea urchins" there are sea urchins that huge in sizes and had a red star located on there back round body. Those sea urchins are poisonous.

anyway, just be careful on the exposure to sun not the sea creatures hahaha

Ummm there are insects here like the ants that bite and the sand files that can leave a nice sizable lump on you if they bite.


Brazilian Jujitsu in Qatar

Certain species of starfish and sea urchins have the capacity to "sting" although not what i would call a true sting. The small black and larger black urchin (latter typically deeper below 5 m) although i have never noted a starfish species in the intertidal looking like it was capable of causing a problem (can you send me photo of dried specimen?)

Dweller - do you know a lot about sea snakes? Any antivenom in HMC? Locations of breeding or high densities of sea snakes?

Cheer all

No I am not an expert but lived in the region for over 23 years and spent much time snorkelling (mainly in Kuwait). I imagine that the HMC would have anti-venom.

I always wore a steel handling glove when collecting oysters and was told that if you offer a fist to the sea snake it's head isn't big enough to bite the fist.

Try to push it away with open fingers and it will bite you on the skin inbetween the fingers.

Never had the need to try it though.

This is easier and surely gives comfort to internet users. Thanks for sharing. Post like this offers great benefit. Thank you!

Pest Control Fairfax

A good suggestion for stone fish or even weaver fish (they do occasionally appear in Qatar) but not a great deal of use if treading on a ray.

Before anyone tells me. I know the thread is about 4 years old.




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