Cyprus Mail

Public’s fear of snakes putting animals in danger

Snakes in Cyprus are in danger as members of the public are unnecessarily scared of them, Animal Party leader Kyriakos Kyriakou said on Tuesday.

At a press conference with herpetologist Giannis Angeli who exhibited four of the eight common types of snake in Cyprus, Kyriakou said “don’t let snakes scare you, call the specialists.”

Specialists in this case include the fire service, the forestry department or the environmental service.

Angeli, presenting the snakes, said only a viper is poisonous and can be dangerous to humans however a bite can be easily cured if the patient goes to the hospital two to eight hours after the attack.

The person will either be administered with cortisol or in rare cases snake venom antiserum polyvalent.

“In case of a bite, we don’t tie or tear the wound, we don’t suck the poison, we just visit –not a private clinic – but a state hospital,” Angeli said.

“If a viper does not feel threatened it won’t bite and in most cases, it’s aggressive behaviour is due to human factors.”

It is not snakes that have entered our space but humans entering theirs with housing developments, Angeli added.

He said a Cypriot viper has a thick body, a triangular shaped head with two black spots in the center. Its bite leaves one or two marks as opposed to other Cypriot snakes that leave the mark of their jaw.

Angeli said he himself would take a snake back to its natural environment if any service was called to help someone that spotted one.

The herpetologist specified killing snakes it illegal. “We don’t expect someone to love them from one day to the next but this doesn’t mean they have to kill them and even post pictures of it on social media, sending the wrong messages.”

Kyriakou express his hope he could meet the agriculture minister and make relevant decisions such as having snake venom antiserum polyvalent at vets to avoid dog poisonings.

The cοluber nummifer, malpolon monsesulanus and coluber jugularis were also displayed with the latter not only being harmless, according to Angeli, but helps reduce rodents as it can eat 30 rats in a month.

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