Where do snakes winter in Russia, photo


The unique ability of snakes to recover from hibernation in ancient times inspired mystical horror to people. Even nowadays, snakes are credited with magical properties, using their dried skin to attract wealth and protect against enemies. Whatever it was, but gradually zoologists studied the habits and properties of reptiles. They have been divided into classes and squads, and now they know where the snakes winter and how they live.

Snakes in Russia

Today, snakes living in Russia are well studied, but due to the fact that their natural habitat is constantly changing due to human intervention, they migrate and adapt to new places.

Conventionally, Russia can be divided into zones where these reptiles meet:

  • Not so long ago, information began to appear that they began to appear in the forest tundra. It is not known how they adapted to local conditions and where snakes hibernate in the tundra, but herders say there have been cases of bites.
  • In central Russia there are only 4 species of snakes, one of which is poisonous.
  • The third zone covers the Black Sea, the shores of the Caspian, Azov and Aral seas and the border with Kazakhstan. This area is inhabited by 17 species of reptiles, 3 of which are poisonous, and 2, although not poisonous, but aggressive, and their bites can be very painful. The places where snakes hibernate (photo below) in this area are animal burrows, reed thickets, or crevices protected from the wind in the mountains.


  • Krasnodar, Stavropol Territory, the North Caucasus countries and Kalmykia are habitats for 14 species of reptiles, 3 of which are dangerous and 3 are poisonous.
  • The Far East is home to 15 species of snakes, of which only three are poisonous.

The way of life and the choice of the place where snakes winter, directly depends on their habitat. For example, in warm areas they may not hibernate at all, whereas in regions with cold winters they are forced to take refuge more warmly and away from people.

Poisonous snakes in Russia

Among the reptiles that are dangerous for people living in different regions of Russia are:

  • The steppe viper is a small snake, but its bite can inflict serious damage to human health, although deaths have been rare. The length of its gray-brown body with a zigzag or stripe on the back usually reaches 30-40 cm. It dwells in meadows and steppes, but so far the grass is green. As it burns out, this snake moves closer to the reservoirs. He likes to dig in hay, where snakes of this species usually winter. There were cases when people who were bitten by a steppe viper lost sight for a long time, so it is better to avoid meeting with it.


  • The Caucasian Viper is listed in the Red Book and rarely occurs, but its bite is lethal to humans. The adult individual grows up to half a meter in length, body color varies from yellow to dark red with a black, sometimes intermittent, strip on the back. It lives in forests and meadows on the mountain slopes. Winters in the crevices between the stones.

These snakes are deadly, but since they avoid human settlements, they can only meet with them on their territory. While hunting or collecting mushrooms in these places, you should get acquainted in advance with which inhabitants you can meet.

The most dangerous snakes of Russia

There are reptiles who are better never to meet on their way, but even they try to hide at the sight of a person, although they can harm him:

  • Gyurza is one of the most dangerous snakes in Russia. In the steppe variety, the body length can reach two meters, although the majority of individuals are 130-140 cm. These snakes live in families and are extremely aggressive at the end of May, when they begin to mate. In the summer, they crawl together into their hunting grounds, and in the fall they return to where the snakes of this species spend the winter, although they do not fall into hibernation.
  • Common mica dwells in the south of Siberia and the north of Kalmykia. This snake has a greyish yellow color with black transverse stripes on the body. When he sees a person, he adopts a defensive posture and emits a repulsive odor that can be felt at a distance of up to 5 m, which has saved many people from his bite, which, although very painful, is not fatal.


Usually snakes avoid encounters with people, but they can be caught by chance, therefore they should knock on bushes and grass with a stick while walking in the woods, picking up mushrooms and berries. Hearing the noise, the snakes crawl away.

Dangerous snakes of Russia

If you look for places where snakes hibernate in Russia, then the most common will be haystacks or rodent holes. They can be combined into large groups, especially for steppe and forest reptiles.

There are a number of snakes that, although not poisonous, can harm a person by their bite. In Russia, these include:

  • Yellow-bellied snake. It reaches a length of more than 1.5 m. The color of its back can be either olive or black, but the belly is always yellowish, hence the name. They live far from people in the fields and steppes, but they are not afraid to settle in gardens, or even in parks. They feed on birds and small rodents, and when they meet with a person they can throw up to a meter and bite the one who disturbed them. The snakes bites are quite painful and heal for a long time. Often they settle in haystacks or in burrows of rodents, which they have previously eaten. The yellow-bellied snake is tied to its home, therefore it always returns to it after the hunt.


  • The Caucasian cat snake does not avoid people at all, but can even live under the roof of the shed and catch mice there. Her bite is not dangerous, but it is better not to tease this small, up to 75 cm in length, snake. Unlike other non-venomous snakes, her pupils are like those of a cat, so she was given this name. It winters also in hay, sheds or empty buildings.

These reptiles, although they are not dangerous to humans, it is better not to touch. It is a pity that often people, not understanding these beautiful creatures, kill snakes that are completely safe for them.

Poisonous snakes in the Moscow region

In the suburbs there is only one kind of poisonous snake - the common viper. They inhabit the shores of marshes, rivers and lakes, in forests and sometimes in meadows. Vipers avoid people, but a chance encounter can provoke a snake to bite a potential enemy. It is easy to recognize, as this snake has a triangular head on a thin neck and narrow pupils of the eyes.


The places where snakes winter in the Moscow region can be completely different. For example, a single viper can lie down in someone's hole or crevice at a depth of 2 meters, where even severe frosts will not reach it. If there is no such place, the adders join in groups of up to 200 individuals and hibernate in a shallower pit.

Non-poisonous snakes in the Moscow region: snakes

In this area there are 2 types of non-venomous snakes - snakes and coppers. The first prefer to settle at reservoirs with running water. They are often confused with vipers, and therefore exterminated, although in some countries, such as Ukraine, Belarus, in the countryside they are tamed. They are great micelles and easily get used to people. Hibernate in deep cracks in the ground or holes.

Medyanki in the suburbs

In the forests where snakes hibernate in central Russia, coppers have preferred glades and logging, since there is more heat and sun there. They are hammered into burrows or pits under snags and stones, where they sleep until the first spring heat. These incredibly beautiful snakes are also subject to extermination by humans, although they are not yet on the list of endangered animals.


In the Moscow region are found in Chekhov, Klin and Podolsk regions.

Wintering snakes in the Leningrad region

This region is inhabited by the same snakes as in the Moscow region. Because of the intense heat, especially in the period from May to September, they are very active, so you should be careful when going to the forest or even digging in the garden. But it is especially necessary to avoid meeting with snakes during the Indian summer, because before hibernation they are always aggressive.

The most common in the Luga, Kingisepp and Volkhov district, where the snakes winter in the Leningrad region. They choose deep holes or hollows, sometimes burrowing into the ground to a depth of 2 meters, where the temperature is rarely below +3 degrees even in cold weather.

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