Science & Technology

Climate Change Driving Venomous Snakes Into New Regions, Study Warns

A new study has found that climate breakdown is likely to drive venomous snake species into new regions, putting unprepared countries at increased risk of snakebites, the Guardian reported yesterday.

The research, published in the Lancet Planetary Health journal, forecasts that countries like Nepal, Niger, Namibia, China, and Myanmar will see an influx of venomous snakes from neighboring regions as the climate warms by 2070.

“Our research shows that when venomous snakes start showing up in new places, it’s a wake-up call for us to start thinking about how we can keep ourselves and our environment safe,” said study authors Pablo Ariel Martinez and Talita F Amado.

The study modeled the geographic distribution of 209 venomous snake species, finding that while many will see range contractions, habitats for some dangerous snakes like the West African gaboon viper could increase by up to 250%.

The World Health Organization estimates 1.8 to 2.7 million people are bitten by venomous snakes each year, causing up to 138,000 deaths and 400,000 disabilities.

“We urgently need to understand better how exactly this will affect where people get bitten, and how many people get bitten, so that we can prepare,” said Anna Pintor from the WHO’s neglected tropical diseases group.

Researcher Soumyadeep Bhaumik added, “Snakebite is in essence a human-animal-environment conflict. The global study addresses a significant gap in knowledge.”

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