You can find snakes on hiking trails the world over. But what are the right steps to take if you encounter one? What should you do if you’re bitten? We have all the answers to your questions.
Weget asked a lot about wild animals in Armenia. How likely are you to encounter them? Should you be worried about your safety? Wild animals typically stay away from humans, so, no, there isn’t much cause for concern, though we always encourage hikers to practice caution and show our four-legged friends respect.
Don’t freak out. You can find snakes on hiking trails the world over. But what are the right steps to take if you do encounter one? What should you do if you’re bitten? We sat down with Artyom Makaryan, coordinator of animal care at the Yerevan Zoo, for some answers.
Armenia is home to 22 different types of snakes, of which 4 are poisonous. They are the Blunt Nosed Viper (known locally as gyurza), the Armenian viper or Radde’s Mountain Viper (haykakan izh), the Armenian Steppe Viper (Yerevanyan-tapastanayin izh) and Darevsky’s Viper (darevsku izh).
Snakes are most dangerous in the spring, specifically between the months of April and May, when they come out of hibernation and are looking for mates. It’s not uncommon to find snakes between April and May spread out in open areas, sometimes even on roads, taking in the sunlight. These are the months when hikers need to be particularly careful, Makaryan says. But by summertime, when temperatures can sore up to 40+ degrees (104°F) in Armenia, snakes hide underground during the day to avoid the heat, and come out at night. Unless you’re out at night in the summer, snakes are less of a danger to hikers in Armenia during tourist season.
Makaryan says it’s rare, though not impossible, to find venomous snakes 2,500 meters above sea level. Not even urban centers like Yerevan are snake-free; the Armenian Steppe Viper can be found all around Yerevan not far from human population.