‘Record’ number of Norwegians suffer snake bites during hot summer

Warm and dry summer weather has resulted in an increased number of Norwegians suffering adder bites.

'Record' number of Norwegians suffer snake bites during hot summer
File photo: Paul Kleiven / SCANPIX

Advice line Giftinformasjonen (Poison Information), which is run by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, received twice as many inquiries on the subject of snake bites in June compared to the same month last year, news agency NTB reports.

“We have received a lot of inquiries this year and it is certainly a record year in terms of adder bites,” Giftinformasjonen head of department Marie Tosterud told NTB.

The service is reported to have been contacted 105 times in relation to adder bites last month, compared to 52 times in June 2017.

“The increase is probably due to the warm weather we’ve had so far, which results in people being outside more and using thin shoes,” Tosterud said.

Giftinformasjonen has received a total of 221 inquiries so far in 2018. The total for the whole of 2017 was 257.

Although those numbers do not represent national statistics, they reflect the number of times the helpline was contacted due to concerns over bites. Neither is there any data as to where in the country the most instances of adder bites have occurred.

The animal can be found in most of the country, although rarely north of Arctic Circle city Bodø, NTB writes.

It is not unusual for the snake to strike without being seen, Tosterud explained.

“Some people experience an acute pain. They then spot the characteristic two-dot bite mark, the dots separated by around 3-9mm. Then they call us,” she said.

A number of cases have resulted in hospital treatment, she added.

Being bitten does not necessarily require medical attention, but children, the elderly, people who are not in good general health and those who take certain types of medication to regulate blood pressure are advised to contact a doctor if bitten, the Giftinformasjonen head of department said.

“We tailor our advice depending on the person who has been bitten, how much time has passed since the bite and the symptoms the affected person has. Healthy adults without symptoms are generally advised to keep an eye on the bite at home, while people in risk groups such as children, the elderly and pregnant women are often sent to see a doctor to be checked,” Tosterud said, adding that anyone experiencing symptoms should seek medical advice.

Deaths resulting from bites from the snake, Latin name vipera berus, are extremely rare. Dogs and other pets are more at risk, however, and should be taken to a vet immediately if bitten.

READ ALSO: Snake on a plane causes stir on Scandinavian flight


Partial lunar eclipse to be visible over parts of Norway

People in parts of Norway may be able to witness a partial lunar eclipse on Friday. 

Pictured is a lunar eclipse
Friday will see a partial lunar eclipse over Norway. Pictured is a lunar eclipse. Photo by Roger Starnes Sr on Unsplash

On Friday morning, the sun, the earth and the moon will align, causing a partial lunar eclipse. Friday’s celestial showcase will be an almost total lunar eclipse, with only a tiny part of the moon not ending up in the earth’s shadow. 

The eclipse will be most visible at 10:03am, when 98 percent of the moon will be in shadow. 

The moon will take on a reddish tinge as sunlight that passes through the earth’s atmosphere will be refracted back onto the moon. 

People in the north of Norway will have the best eclipse experience because the moon doesn’t go down until later in the morning at higher latitudes. The weather will also be better further north, according to forecasts. 

Residents of east and west Norway hoping for a show may have their views hindered by clouds. 

“If you are lucky, you’ll be able to see it from several parts of the country,” Randveig Eikhild from the Meteorological Institute told public broadcaster NRK

The best place to see the eclipse will be somewhere with a good clear view of the horizon, without mountains, hills or buildings in the way. 

For those in the south, where the view may not be the best due to the brighter mornings, there’s another celestial event on Friday that they will be able to witness. 

Once the sun goes down, gas giants Jupiter and Saturn will be visible in the night sky and very close together. Saturn won’t be visible from the north, however. 

“Jupiter and Saturn are quite close to each other and are beautiful in the fall. However, they are not always as close as they are now. It can be a very nice sight,” Pål Brekke, from the Norwegian Space Centre, explained to NRK.