Venomous Vipers Invade Siberia Region After Biggest Floods in 180 Years: 'We Have Only Five Doses of the Antidote'

It may sound like something out of The Bible, but this month, a Siberian region was invaded by venomous vipers shortly after being struck by the worst flooding in the area for 180 years.

The floods in the region of Irkutsk, eastern Siberia—which began in late June—killed around 25 people, The Moscow Times reported. In addition to the visible destruction, the high waters also brought an infestation of serpents.

Several people living near the banks of flooded rivers reported sightings of the snakes in the Chunsky district of Irkutsk, according to a statement from the local government. Many posting images of the beasts on social media. It is possible that the wet conditions following the floods are attracting the creatures.

The viper sightings have led local authorities to issue a warning to prevent the risk of potentially dangerous bites.

"The danger of being bitten has not been ruled out at all," a statement from the Chunsky district read. "We have only five doses of the antidote in the area. If you get bitten by a snake, you should immediately contact the nearest medical facility."

Venomous snakes were also reported in Irkutsk's Kuytunsky District following the floods, local news outlet AIF-Irkutsk reported. Residents in this area were urged to exercise caution when venturing outside.

There are around 50 snake species in Russia, of which around 11 possess venom that can pose a danger to humans, The Moscow Times reported.

Among the venomous species is the common European viper (or adder), which is found across a vast area stretching from Western Europe to East Asia.

While bites from this snake—which usually grow to 24 inches—can be painful, the venom has a low toxicity to humans, meaning they rarely cause serious problems.

Another of the venomous species that lives in Russia is the Siberian pit viper (Gloydius halys), which is distributed across a wide area of Asia including Russia and China, as well as other countries such as Afghanistan, Iran and Mongolia.

It is brown to gray in color depending on the location and—like all pit vipers—features a heat-sensing pit organ between the eye and nostril on both sides of the head, which helps with hunting and maintaining body temperature.

According to Russian news agency TASS, nearly 11,000 homes were inundated with water as a result of the severe Irkutsk floods in June. Local authorities say seven people are still missing.

Irkutsk floods
An aerial picture taken from a helicopter shows the flood-affected town of Tulun in Russia's Irkutsk region on July 19, 2019. ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images
Venomous Vipers Invade Siberia Region After Biggest Floods in 180 Years: 'We Have Only Five Doses of the Antidote' | Tech & Science