There are 12 species of snake on Lesvos, of which three are poisonous including Ottoman Viper which is considered to be the most venomous snake in Europe.
As a general rule, take care when walking through long grass and rocky scrub as Ottoman Viper are widespread at all elevations across the island, even occurring in and around some villages. As a species, Ottoman Viper is very easily overlooked and typically do not move away when approached. As with many other snakes, they can also be encountered by rivers and lakes when hunting frogs and toads. If you are lucky enough to find a viper, please do not approach too close and admire from a distance. If you are unlucky enough to suffer a snake bite seek medical assistance immediately. Birders have been badly bitten and hospitalised by Ottoman Vipers in the past.
European Checkered Scorpion is also widespread across the island, typically in open farmland and rocky scrub, and can give a painful sting. They are most frequently found crossing tracks such as at the Alykes Wetlands fields or under suitable stones or building material. It is safest not to handle scoprions.
Wildlife of Lesvos
Ottoman Viper and European Checkered Scorpion images © Paul Manning