DANGEROUS ANIMALS OF CROATIA – KARST VIPER

Dangerous animals of Croatia Karst viper (lat. Vipera ursinii macrops, local – planinski zutokrug) is considered the smallest viper in Europe, adults average 40-50 cm (16-20 inches) in total length, that lives in small and fragmented populations throughout Europe. Their bodies are small and thick, head narrow and are usually pale brown in colour with a dark, zig-zag back stripe. The underside can range from dark grey to black or even reddish. Beside the zig-zag patter on its back, there is also a beautiful V shaped mark on the top of its head. Its main diet are small insects, such as crickets or grasshoppers, or small rodents. The species is diurnal, however, it will undergo different periods of hibernation in the winter, usually from October/November to March/April.

dangerous animals Croatia karst viper via vacationsIn Croatia, it is an endemic species, classified as endangered, that inhabits high mountains, 1100 meters (8000 feet) above sea level, of the Dinaric Arc. They are found on wide open meadows, rocky hillsides, steppes or sometimes in marshy areas. Found mostly on warm, sunny south or east slopes, often on lime stone, crucial part of their habitat are unshaded structurally diverse covers of grass and other low herbaceous plants. Such places provide perfect spots for basking and shelter.

Dangerous animals of Croatia Karst viper is a nervous snake and will bite if provoked, especially during mating time which occurs in March or April. Her venom is not dangerous to humans due to the fact that her diet consists mainly of grasshoppers and crickets. Though not fatal, the venom still has painful effects such as swelling, redness and sever pain in the area. If a bite occurs, it is best to contact the first available hospital.

Since the population of the species is rapidly decreasing due to pollution, water level increase, illegial collection, burnig, grazing, ect., many conservation methods are taking place but the most important one is to not disturbe them in their natural habitat.

Dangerous animals of Croatia Karst viper snakebite: What to do?

The first aid treatment in case of a snakebite varies because of the different types of venom a snake can have. Here we will try and give you the general knowledge that can be applied in most common cases same as for the dangerous animals Croatia karst viper.

First aid guidelines:

  1. Protect the injured person. While it is desirable to identify the snake it is crucial to remove the injured and contact the first available medical service.
  2. Keep the injured calm. Increased heartrate due to stress and adrenaline increases the blood flow and will cause the venom to spread faster through the body.
  3. Keep the bitten limb below the person’s heart level to minimize blood returning to the heart and other organs.
  4. Do not give the injured anything to eat or drink. The consummation of food and liquid will speed up the metabolism and cause the venom to be digested faster.
  5. Remove any item or part of clothing that can constrict the bitten limb if it swells (rings, bracelets, footwear, etc.)
  6. Keep the injured as still as possible
  7. Do no cut open the bitten site

You might also find the following links useful:

Protect Karst viper project

Protect Karst viper video


Dangerous animals Croatia – geographical range

dangerous animals Croatia snakes geographic range via vacations