Climatic Change

, Volume 122, Issue 1–2, pp 67–80 | Cite as

Venomous snakes and climate change: ophidism as a dynamic problem

  • Javier Nori
  • Paola A. Carrasco
  • Gerardo C. Leynaud


Snakebite envenoming is an important public health problem worldwide and addressing this issue has turned into a challenge for applied science. In this sense, the study of the distributional patterns of problematic snakes is central in terms of public health. Global Climate Change is affecting the distributional ranges of snakes, so that decisions regarding treatment of ophidism (poisoning by snake venom) may also change spatially and/or temporally. Here, we assessed suitable climate spaces at present conditions and estimated potential future changes in the distributions of the five southernmost venomous snakes, responsible for almost 99 % of accidents in Argentina, by implementing an ensemble of forecasts between different algorithms and scenarios for 2030 and 2080. Present suitable climate spaces showed high concordance with known distribution of the species. Future projections show moderate “north to south” displacements of the snakes’ suitable climate spaces, implying potential increments of suitable spaces in human populated areas in Argentina. Our results suggest the necessity of considering ophidism as a dynamic problem. In this regard, the analyses implemented here are useful tools in improving the assessment of snakebite envenoming in light of global climate change.


Argentina Venomous Snake Commission Error Suitable Space Snake Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to J. Aparicio, L. Gonzales, H. Zaher, S. Kretzschmar, J. Williams, and J. Faivovich for generously providing access to the herpetological collections. We also thank G. Scrocchi, J. Lescano and N. Frutos who discussed several important aspects of this study, three anonymous reviewers who made important suggestions that greatly improved the ms, and Maria Eugenia Periago for improvements in the English version of the manuscript. JN is a PhD student at the Doctorado en Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. PAC is a postdoctoral fellow (CONICET-SECyT), and GCL is a staff researcher at CONICET (Argentina). The authors’ research was supported by MINCyT–PID 2010 (project #000113/2011) and SECYT–UNC (project # 162/12). Land-Cover data set was developed for the European Space Agency.

Supplementary material

10584_2013_1019_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (26 kb)
Suppl. Table 1 Georeferenced data records implemented to create the models. (XLSX 25 kb)
10584_2013_1019_Fig6_ESM.jpg (299 kb)
Suppl. Fig. 1

Maps with records of the entire range of five snake species (a) Bothrops alternatus (b) Bothrops ammodytoides (c) Bothrops diporus (d) Crotalus durissus terrificus (e) Micrurus pyrrhocryptus (JPEG 298 kb)

10584_2013_1019_MOESM2_ESM.tif (11.6 mb)
High resolution image (TIFF 11897 kb)
10584_2013_1019_Fig7_ESM.jpg (268 kb)
Suppl. Fig. 2

Map showing antrhopized and non-anthropized areas in the continent, overlapped with the suitable climatic spaces at current condition, 2030 and 2080 for each snake species (a) Bothrops alternatus (b) Bothrops ammodytoides (c) Bothrops diporus (d) Crotalus durissus terrificus (e) Micrurus pyrrhocryptus (JPEG 267 kb)

10584_2013_1019_MOESM3_ESM.tif (11.7 mb)
High resolution image (TIFF 11938 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Nori
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paola A. Carrasco
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gerardo C. Leynaud
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centro de Zoología Aplicada, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas Físicas y NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de CórdobaCórdobaArgentina
  2. 2.Instituto de Diversidad y Ecología Animal (CONICET–UNC)CórdobaArgentina

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