Reintroducing vipers into the wild in Fertő-Hanság National Park sites


At the beginning of September, four adult Hungarian meadow vipers were released into their natural habitat in the Fertő-Hanság National Park. As a result of professional and species-specific site management the two specially protected grasslands are considered as proven habitats of vipers for years. These sites are ideal habitats for the animals, where they can find both food, basking area, hiding place and hibernation sites.

Vipers were placed in two separate artificial wintering burrows that had been implemented previously on the sites. After placing the vipers, burrows’ entrance had been closed in order to prevent sudden escape reaction of the vipers caused by travelling for hours to a new environment. Returning the next day, our colleagues will open the burrows so snakes can explore their new habitat in a relaxed mood.

The released snakes were previously equipped with radio transmitters by veterinarians of the Budapest Zoo & Botanical Garden. With these devices we can monitor the movement of the animals, observe and register what kind of habitat they choose depending on the time of day, when wintering begins and when they emerge from hibernation.

The aim of reintroduction is to strengthen and stabilize the population of the Hungarian meadow viper by reintroduction and proper site management. Our intention is to ensure that the species finds long-term living conditions and successfully reproduces on the grasslands of the national park. Since last month two gravid females were seen in one of the habitats, it seems we are on the right path.