ФотогалереиВидео    Facebook TwitterYouTubeInstagram

Poisonus Snakes of Kharkov Region: How to Evade them and What to do if you Come Across them

In the midst of gardening season and active leisure Kharkov citizens can often meet poisonous snakes. But these meetings are always unexpected. Absence of needful knowledge does not let people understand whether the snake is dangerous. Our region is inhabited by two kinds of innoucuous water snakes and grass snakes. Two kinds of poisonous snakes inhabit our region, these are Eastern Steppe Adder and Nikolskiy's adder. Both species are included into the Redbook. Eastern steppe adder is quite rare in Kharkov region. Nikolskiy's adder is common for Krasny Kut, Kharkov, Dergatchy, Chuguyev and Zmiyev regions. Once it was proposed to call her Forest-Steppe Adder. It was in Kharkov region that it was described as a new adder species. It was named after A.M. Nikolskiy who has worked in Kharkov University for many years. He described many new species of amphibia and reptilia and he made considerable contribution into herpetology.

Let's say a few words about snakes of our region. There are five species of snakes in Kharkov region. Anguine lizard, it is legless, can also join this company.

Grass snake is quite well-known due to conspicuous colour patches on its head. It feeds on frogs and other amphibia. That's why it can often be seen close to water pools. His southern neighbur, water snake, is also quite common. It feeds on small fish as well on frogs. It has no colour patches on the head.


Steppe gullies and wood outskirts, sometimes river valleys are inhabited by rat snakes. This innocuous snake feeds on lizards and the young of ofhter snake species. It can eat even adder offsprings! It often eats young mice and field mice which it finds in squats. Being a rare species, it is included into the Redbook of Ukraine.


Веретеница – это лесное животное и за пределами лесов не встречается. Питается она земляными червями, слизнями и личинками насекомых, которых находит в лесной подстилке.

Steppe adder is coloured grey. It has a zig-zag stripe along the spine. Nikolskiy's adder is always black. Steppe adder feeds on large insects, lizards and small gnawing mammals. Nikolskiy's adde is wood species, it can be seen in forest margins. It eats small rodents. Sometimes it eats nestlings of birds that build their nests on ground. Also it eats brown terrestrial frogs.


One may sometimes see infos that the number of snakes is growing bigger and people are endangered. It is not true. The point is that huge territories have been given to build garden houses. Lands near river banks have become places of mass recreation, therefore snakes were forced to live close to people.

In our fauna snakes can bite only if they are defending themselves! Taken by surprise, they hiss. It is their warning signal so that people would let them alone. So don't try to catch them or kill them! Let the snake hide away or just pass it. It will never chase you! In woods you may often meet legless anguine lizards. They are most often killed.

Accidents happen when people step on the adder in thick grass or press it with the hand unawares in thick shrub. Due to that reason please put n long trousers and hard-sole shoes whenever you go out into the nature. Remember, sandals and shorts will not do! When you pick up mushrooms or berries, do not seek blindfold in grass or in branches. Following these measures will be enough to prevent accidents.

An adder can be met in your own garden. To avoid this, moan grass regularly, get rid of rodents that are food for adders, their squats are used by adders as shelter. There should be no garbage dumps on the territory of gardening or in mass recreation places! In these sites there should be nothing that snakes could use as temporary shelter - wooden logs, construction garbage or sawn-off branches. 

Still, if you got bitten by a snake, please watch the place of the bite closely. Innocuous snakes just leave superficial scratches. Adders have two long teeth that sting deeply into the skin. People experience pain, the place of bite gets swallen.


If you got bitten, the first thing is not to panic and to call the first aid! While waiting for doctors, the injured person should lie in the shade . He should have plenty of drink (water, juice, tea, coffee). The injured place gets swallen, that's why you should free it from shoe or from cothes. Rings or bracelets should be taken off. Never tie the injured extremity woth a rope or belt!

В заключение, упомянем наших верных друзей – собак. Охотничьи лайки и овчарки редко подвергаются укусам гадюк и у этих собак обычно высокий уровень сопротивляемости организма. Тем не менее, и для них применимы меры оказания первой помощи и безотлагательно – в ветеринарную клинику.