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A lot of people wouldn’t mind giving a helping hand to an animal in need, but rare are those who would do that for a viper. Yet, one of the most notable residents of Velebit peaks, Vlado Prpic Prpa, didn’t mind saving a life of snake during one of his walks through the beautiful mountain. Saving poskok vipers is a kind of duty to him actually, as being a Croatian highlander comes with love for animal and plant life.

While enjoying the walk through Velebit sceneries with his family, Prpa came to an old watering spot, built to sustain local wild horse population. He regularly checks the locality, since some forest dwellers behave incautious, and occasionally find themselves on the bottom of the dried water hole. This time, however, clumsy being in question was a poisonous snake called poskok.

Saving Poskok Vipers

Poskok snakes, also known as horned vipers, can be found all over Mediterranean soil, from Italy to Asia Minor. They are actually the most poisonous serpents in Europe, easily recognizable by distinctive zig-zag pattern on the back and small horn-like feature on their heads. Although poskok bite can be life-threatening to human beings, such encounters are relatively rare, as snakes usually spare venom for prey.

The hero of our tale, Vlado Prpa, has been bitten several times during his life, so he knew pretty well that horned vipers shouldn’t be taken easily. However, he didn’t hesitate a single second when he discovered this animal on the bottom of the pit.

“I immediately felt compassion to the poor reptile, and decided to help him. It desperately coiled itself on the single spot in the pit where the sunrays were reaching, just waiting something to happen.”

Prpa brought large ladders and a special stick for catching dangerous snakes. In a matter of minutes, the reptile was in a thick bag, waiting to be released into wild lands of Croatia once again. “We set the animal free around 200 meters away from the pit. It went with dignity to the bushes, probably happy that his underground adventure is over,” Prpa laughs.

Photo courtesy of: Zoran Stanko
Photo courtesy of: Zoran Stanko

Loving life in all forms is mandatory to people who really care about nature. Saving poskok vipers is just one way of being grateful for the world we have. After all, fatalities caused by snake bite are very rare in modern world, much thanks to people’s awareness and well-stocked quantities of serums in hospitals. In case, however, that you are bitten by a viper, don’t panic. Just wrap the bitten place with a soft cloth, and dial 112 for help. During transportation to hospital, try not to move the area around the bite.


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