Lebanese Wildlife Rescuer Cautions About Snakes Emerging In The Spring

@thehikeaholic | @herpinglebanon

With springtime here, animals emerge to feed, reproduce, and enjoy the warmth. That includes reptiles that were hibernating in the winter months and are ready to go out into the world again.

However, with the large emergence of snakes comes many reports of snake killings. “We’ve already received many posts and pictures about snakes being killed here and there, unfortunately,” Rami Khashab, a Lebanese wildlife rescuer, told The961.

He attributes these snake killings to a lack of information and knowledge that is based on myths and fears passed through generations. But it’s time for a change.

Contrary to the fears and myths surrounding snakes, these slithery reptiles are actually associated with medicine, life, and healing, and, because of how they shed their skin, they have long been a symbol of rebirth and transformation.

According to Khashab, out of 25 confirmed species of snakes in Lebanon, only 3 are considered highly venomous.

“These are the Palestinian viper, the Blunt-nosed viper, and the Lebanon Mountain viper – which is classified as endangered and can go extinct completely,” he said.

There are 5 other species that are classified as mildly venomous but are not life-threatening to humans. The rest, the majority of snakes, are nonvenomous.

A large nonvenomous snake, the Coin marked snake, often gets misidentified for the venomous Palestinian viper and has become one of the most persecuted snake species in Lebanon, according to Khashab.

This is a comparison:

Additionally, harmless legless lizards (pictured below) often get mistaken for snakes and become victims.

Khashab, who is the co-founder of Lebanese Wildlife, told us that snakes are secretive creatures and normally tend to avoid humans.

“Humans are not prey for snakes,” he said.

The only time they get close to people’s homes is to hunt for mice and rats.

But snakes, whether venomous or not, don’t do well with feeling threatened. They may hiss as a warning but ultimately could attack as a last resort in self-defense.

Khashab’s advice to people is that if they encounter a snake, the best thing to do is leave it alone. However, if a snake happens to make its way into someone’s residence, yard, car, etc., the right thing to do is call wildlife rescuers to safely remove it.

People should avoid getting near snakes or trying to remove them on their own. “Misidentification or lack of knowledge in dealing with snakes can put the person and the animal in danger,” Khashab stated.

To reach out to Lebanese Wildlife call +961 81 770 541 or DM them here.

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