Dozens of venomous snakes have been discovered in Israel over the past few months, even in some of the small country’s most populated urban centers, an exterminator told Israeli NRG news portal on Wednesday.
“Just last night we captured a homegrown Israeli poisonous viper about a meter long in a private backyard in Holon, near the industrial zone” of the city, said Eli Cohen, an exterminator and director of an Israeli exterminators association.
He said hundreds of snakes had been reported over the past several months, and dozens of those were poisonous vipers.
There are three types of poisonous snakes in Israel potentially deadly to humans: the black and yellow Israeli viper, the Black Adder and the Israeli mole viper. The Israeli viper can be found anywhere from the northern reaches of the Golan to the scorched Negev desert.
“These snakes also show up in the bigger cities in central Israel. Therefore, you should be extra vigilant,” Cohen told NRG.
Often, humans do not encounter these snakes except during outings to the desert or perhaps during military training in remote locations, but on occasion these creeping creatures also make their way into the densest of Israeli towns and cities in the center of the country.
And in addition to these snakes, Israel also boasts the deathstalker, a shockingly small yellow scorpion that lives up to its name: it is the world’s most poisonous.
Visitors to Israel during the summer months should be wary, as it is the most common season in which humans encounter these species, according to NRG.
Obviously, NRG counseled, those who take advantage of the Jewish state’s natural wonders should proceed at the greatest caution, making sure to camp in designated areas away from the natural hiding places of such critters, such as large stones or dense bushes. Poisonous snakes, shielding themselves from the brutal Middle Eastern midday sun, often hide during the day and emerge during the evening or overnight.
“If we’ve found ourselves in a situation where we are encountering a snake, don’t reach out to pet it,” warned Cohen. “Don’t try to catch it, trap it or throw something at it to hurt it. Any such behavior raises the chance that it will try to bite us. In such a case, you should remove yourself from the place immediately. If you plan to call a qualified snake catcher, you should maintain eye contact with the snake and try to photograph it from afar and with caution.”