Viper that bit dog walker in Tallinn last week still not found

The Vipera berus, or common European viper (harilik rästik or just rästik in Estonian). Photo is illustrative.
The Vipera berus, or common European viper (harilik rästik or just rästik in Estonian). Photo is illustrative. Source: Whitesachem (CC BY-SA 4.0)/Wikimedia Commons

Following an unsuccessful visual search of the green area where the bite occurred, a common European viper to bite a Tallinn resident walking their dogs in Kristiine District last week has yet to be found.

An additional visual search of the green area in question was conducted by representatives of both Kristiine District and a relevant contractual maintenance partner on Monday.

"We didn't find a single viper or notice anything else out of the ordinary," Kristiine District Elder Jaanus Riibe (Center) told ERR.

According to Riibe, no one had ever noticed snakes in the area before. "Not even those people who routinely maintain the trees, green space and bushes in this area," he added.

Kristiine District has recently made efforts to preserve as much biodiversity as possible in their urban space. Along with the preservation of biodiversity, however, come certain risks that must be accounted for as well — such as the presence of unwanted reptiles.

In order to promote biodiversity in the Estonian capital, the City of Tallinn has left more and more of its green areas unmown. One such spot is on the border of the city's Mustamäe and Kristiine districts, where Julia was bitten by a viper while walking her dogs last week.

"I parked my car and went for a walk with the dogs," Julia recalled. "There were only two paths there, and you cannot really avoid stepping on them. I'm wearing sneakers now, but had on more summery footwear that day. I stepped on it and the snake bit me."

Following the incident, the Kristiine city district government contacted the Estonian Union for the Protection of Animals (ELL) as well. The union did not deem it necessary for people to avoid the green space in question, but did call on people to remain alert and recommended people stick to designated paths as they walk.

Only venomous snake in Estonia

The common European viper, the only species of venomous snake in Estonia, is a protected species, and people can contact their local government or the Estonian Union for the Protection of Animals to have them removed. People should refrain from touching snakes.

Click here (link in Estonian) for more information on viper bites from the Health Board's Poison Control Center. Poison Control can also be contacted by phone 24/7 via 16662.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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