Wildlife SOS rescues ‘Levantine Viper’ in Nishat area

SRINAGAR: Wildlife SOS rescued a highly venomous and rare ‘Levantine Viper’ from a house at the foothills of Dachigam in Kashmir. The four-feet-long snake was found in a healthy condition and was soon released into a safe habitat.
The Wildlife SOS team operating out of J&K received a frantic call from locals who had found a Levantine Viper sunbathing in their home garden in Ishbar, Nishat. By the time the rescue team reached the location with requisite equipment and protective gear, the snake was nowhere to be seen.
The team led by veteran snake rescuer Aaliya Mir, embarked on an hour-long operation to successfully locate the reptile inside an unused cow shed. Levantines vipers are highly venomous and can strike when provoked so the team had to take caution while extracting the snake out of the shed.
Aaliya Mir, Project Manager and Education Officer – Wildlife SOS, said, “Most locals are aware of the Levantine viper and the fact that it is highly venomous. Though slow moving, they are capable of fast strikes when provoked and will give out a warning hiss before striking. The number of such sightings in urban areas has increased in the recent past.”
The Levantine viper (Macrovipera lebetina) also known as called ‘Gunas’ in local circles, is a venomous viper that feeds on rodents, lizards, birds etc. and is found in the mountainous regions of Jammu and Kashmir. Their venom is hemotoxic causing extreme pain, inflammation and tissue damage at the bite site.

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