Poisonous & Venomous Spiders, Snakes and Insects in Cyprus.
As with many tropical or sub-tropical islands, Cyprus is home to venomous snakes, poisonous spiders, scorpions and many other potentially life threatening insects and creatures. Tourists from around the globe flock to Cyprus for a vacation of a life time with few thoughts of their safety.
For some, it presents a life changing ordeal of insufferable pain and anguish where lives are lost and lifestyles ruined.
The beautiful Greek island of Cyprus is a fantastic vacation destination. The warm waters of the Mediterranean Ocean lap gently on golden beaches whilst the sun browns the bodies of people on holiday. It is an island which many American and British people fall in love with and eventually relocate there, I know because my mum did.
Although millions of tourists enjoy their holidays in Cyprus and return home with images and memories of amazing times, some do not. Some people may lose a limb, become ill, or even die on this paradise isle.
The Blunt Nosed Viper Snake.
The Blunt Nosed Viper Snake is a venomous snake and is a common sight throughout the Middle East. Growing to nearly 160 cm ( 5 feet ) in length, this snake can be found under trees' and in shaded areas if the temperature raises above 45 degrees. Unfortunately, it is the shaded areas that people also seek if the sun gets to hot.
The venom is highly potent and contains a mixture of toxins. If bitten by this venomous snake, a person may suffer from head-aches, nausea, dizziness as well as abdominal cramps, vomiting and severe necrosis ( decay of living cells and tissue ) Fully grown adults have died from a single bite from this snake.
Excessive bleeding and bruising will occur and medical attention should be sought immediately. If a tourist encounters any type of snake whist on vacation, it is advisable to leave them alone. Do not run away from them as that might startle the snake and cause it to attack. Always walk away, calmly, from a snake.
Although the Blunt Nosed Viper is possibly the most dangerous species of snake on Cyprus, the Montpelier snake is the second most dangerous. There are several different species of Montpellier snake, and all of their bites could prove fatal if not treated immediately.
Growing up to 200 cm ( 6.5 feet ) this gray / greenish snake can be found near irrigation ditches in gardens, on rocky and dry habitats as well as any area with little or no vegetation.
The fangs of this venomous snake are at the rear of the mouth and present little danger to humans normally. Although the bites can cause severe bruising, bleeding, joint stiffness and the usual swelling.
Many snake bites are 'dry'. This is where no venom is actually injected into the puncture wound.
Other snakes to watch out for whilst on vacation to Cyprus include the Cat Snake, the Whip Snake, Pink Worm Snake, and the Grass Snake. Most of these snakes do not bite humans and if they did the venom is not dangerous and the wounds easily treated.
If bitten, do not panic. Panicking causes the blood to be pumped around the body faster, carrying any venom with it. If possible, get a mental description of the snake, this will assist the medical centre in administering the correct anti-venom.
Possibly the most common spider in the world is the formidable Black Widow Spider. Found in Cyprus, as well as the whole Middle East, this little beast can give a very nasty nip. Limbs have been known to triple in size after receiving a bite from the Black Widow.
The Wolf Spider, also referred to as the Cyprus Tarantula, is a scary looking creature but the sting is virtually harmless, similar to a bee sting. A person who suffers from arachnophobia will suffer more just at the sight of this spider than a person would if they were bitten.
The Jumping Spider can grow to 3/4 of an inch in length and although again not deadly, the bite can itch like crazy. It is recommended that tourists going on vacation to Cyprus invest in a bottle of biokill, which kills spiders, ants, cockroaches and other crawling insects which can infest an apartment overnight.
The most annoying of insects to tourists whilst on vacation. There are no malaria carrying mosquitoes in Cyprus. These insects can be found in their billions in the spring and late autumn. Mosquito repellents are a must if visiting during these times as are mosquito nets.
Ensure all windows have mesh screens and buy plug in insect repellents before leaving for your vacation. Although most mosquito bites come to nothing more than little itchy bumps, it can get worse.
The humble mosquito is responsible for thousands of deaths each year around the globe.
Scorpions are a rare sight within a building in Cyprus, but many unwitting tourists have been stung by these very small yet fearsome creatures. Mainly yellowish in color and up to 75 mm in length, these scorpions appear in gardens, shoes, and cupboards.
They tend to crawl into beds, discarded shoes, and even into sinks during the night. Not looking into beds and clothing prior to using them may result in a nasty, but not a life threatening, nip.
Mainly these creatures will shy away from human contact, but if cornered or they feel threatened, they will use the sting in their tail or their front claws to defend themselves.
It is very rare for a scorpion sting to kill a human. Misconception and movies play a huge roll in misguiding the public as to the poison in a sting from a scorpion.
6 cm long cockroaches can infest damp areas and homes during the summer months. They will fly through open windows or underneath doors, They are attracted by the smell of food, and leaving food packages open in the evening will ensure a visit by several of these creatures.
It is not recommended that they are crushed underfoot. The feeling of the cockroach being squashed, through the sole of the foot ( especially if wearing flip flops or sandals ) is not nice, neither is the sound, but their eggs may be scattered around the room at the same time.
Simply flush them down the toilet or throw them back outside.
Fleas are common on the feral cats which frequent beaches and even restaurants as well as private gardens. It is best to avoid picking up or stroking these wild cats. The fleas do bite and leave little red itchy bumps, but they are difficult to get rid of if they enter the home.
Fleas can remain dormant for months waiting for a hot blooded meal to wander past. This in effect means that you may inadvertently take fleas back home nestled inside the luggage.
There are several large species of ants in Cyprus. None are dangerous like the fire ants, but can enter a house en-masse to feast off of any open food containers. Spray areas with pest repellent to avoid any type of insect from entering the home.
Anonymous on June 30, 2020:
Cyprus is indeed a Greek island, there's nothing that needs to be corrected. Just because all other European states are nation-states, this does not have to be true with Cyprus. Although being an independent country / state, predominantly the island's population was Greek (about 80% prior to the Turkish invasion in 1974.)
Anon on May 23, 2018:
I was stupid enough to stand next to some tall grass and nearly got bit in the ankle by a viper lol
Elizabeth Bucher on July 09, 2017:
I encountered a snake, about 30cm long, about 0,5cm thick, greyish colour on my back verandah. Most probably coming from the garden. My attention was drawn to it by a cat.
Come across numerous spiders daily. Would, however, very much like to know what the white spider, about 1.5cm, is? Is it poisonous?
I am afraid of snakes but not of spiders.
Jo on May 15, 2017:
I am from Cyprus. All the 17 years of my life I've been studying animal species. I used to believe what people and several websites that in Cyprus there are not many animals like the "Possibly most common spider in the world"- Black Widow. I have to tell you that here I have found so many different species its difficult to count. I've found the True Black Widow many times and I even had one as a pet, as INE love insects, spiders and other wild creatures. I have encountered all the 8 known species of the island many lizards and scorpions which are not known to live in Cyprus or even near by. That makes me come to the conclusion that due to the world trade , especially of palantations, it is now very easy for a species not native to a place to arrive there and inhabit the place. For that reason we must be very carefull and protect ourselves, for example by wearing gloves wen we do things in the garden or in fields, but at the same time respect the nature and not kill the animals unless we are in direct danger. From my experience as an animal and nature lover most animals won't try to harm you and will try to escape or hide and only if cornered will they try to attact for protection.
david on May 06, 2017:
Cyprus is NOT a Greek island, it is an independent state and a member of the European Union.
Random Name on January 22, 2017:
I am from Cyprus and I have encountered nearly all of these beasts
Cockroaches are such a pain
Especially when the do their business in your pool and you have to clean it up :(
I always find lizards and snakes in my backyard but it is fine because they are kinda common
There is like a 2/10 chance that you will encounter anything dangerous, and a WHOPPING 1/100 chance that you will die from a bite
Angelos on September 22, 2016:
Just a small correction.. - Cyprus is not a Greek island but an independent country! And to be honest I've never seen a black widow here on the island, or ever heard somebody's seen. I've seen tarantulas and snakes and a bunch of other creepy insects and animals but never a black widow.
CAL on June 27, 2016:
Just had a yellow scopian in our villa in argaka, had black snake in pool swimming, yay
Christ on April 27, 2015:
I found a huge female black widow spider in Limassol a few days ago. It was hiden under some woods and it had made its web there.
When I old it to my sister she didn't believe me but I'm sure it was a black widow
Nikki on September 22, 2014:
I moved to Cyprus in march and have come across snacks spiders coakroaches and lots of other little nastys. You just learn quickly to look with your eyes and not with you hands when going through things. It's also a good idea to stay away from banana plantations and try not to walk through long grass as that is where you will most likely find the snakes and spiders
Leesa on June 05, 2014:
We are moving to cyprus soon
have small family with children and pets taking over rabbit guinnea pig budgie and 2 dogs this is for blue lady it should be okay for living there hey one of my daughters loves rocks will have to be careful there. Xxx
joshr2d2 on August 06, 2013:
Wolf spider in with the laundry!!!
Frangipanni on January 23, 2013:
EEEkkkk. I live in Australia and we have most of these too. We don't think about them too much until we spot one in our house. Yuk.
billericky (author) from Plymouth on July 27, 2012:
Hey Green bard,
I have lived in Spain and Portugal, visited Kuala Lumpar, Australia, South of France for the film festivals every year, St Lucia, Belgium and Germany. The only place where I have not seen or heard about the black widow spider was Scotland. This may be possible due to the cold or the fact that even the spiders are scared of the Scottish !!
Seeing a man ( my neighbour ) with his forearm three sizes the normal size taught me that these little creatures are kinda scary, although not deadly.
Steve Andrews from Tenerife on July 24, 2012:
You say "Possibly the most common spider in the world" about the Black Widow and this really makes no sense at all. I have never seen one and I love insects and spiders and have been studying them since I was child! Where do you get your information from?
bluelady on July 17, 2012:
I have lived in Cyprus for 8 years now.Have had contact with snakes mostly black and not at all dangerous
Also scorpions have been in my house (babies) Just shovel them up and put on a field.
Spiders plenty! even proper Tarantulars found droned in our pool. Just be careful and you will alright.Mossies lower down the sea front We live lower hills of the Troodos and have none.
Farhat from Delhi on July 16, 2012:
nice information..at least one can make theirself aware & prepare against these intruders at their cyprus journey !