Viper

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(Redirected from Viperinae)
Vipers

Photo of Danish viper, Vipera berus (Ravnsholt).
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Reptilia
Order:Squamata
Family:Viperidae
Subfamily:Viperinae
Genera

Adenorhinos
Atheris
Azemiops
Bitis
Cerastes
Daboia
Echis
Eristicophis
Macrovipera
Montatheris
Proatheris
Pseudocerastes
Vipera

This page is about Viper snakes. For other uses see Viper (disambiguation).

Vipers are venomous snakes belonging to the Viperidae family (consisting of roughly 150 species). They are characterised by long erectile fangs, which are folded back when not in use. They also have triangle-shaped heads with a distinctly narrower neck. The broad areas of the head house the venom glands. Their eyes have irises like those of a cat. Being 0.3–3 m long, vipers feed on small animals, which are injected with venom and then followed until they die.

The viper's venom is a haemotoxin, and is generally more dangerous than the neurotoxin of a cobra. Since vipers possess a poor digestive system, they rely on the venom to do the job via rapid tissue damage. Thus, a bite to humans can, at the worst, be even fatal. The exact effect strongly depends on the type of viper and the constitution and build of the human in question. However, because of the notable tissue damage caused by the venom, even with good treatment the bite is sure to leave a permanent mark. At the very worst, the area may even have to be amputated.

Common name Scientific name Geographic range
Bush Viper Atheris squamiger Angola, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya
Carpet Viper Echis coloratus Africa, Asia
Cyclades Blunt-Nosed Viper Vipera lebetina schweizeri Greece
Crossed Viper Vipera berus berus British Isles, Europe, Russia, China, Spain
European Asp Vipera aspis aspis Austria, Germany, Italy, France
Fea's Viper Azemiops feae Burma, SE Tibet, China
Gaboon Viper Bitis gabonica Equatorial Africa
Horned Desert Viper Cerastes cerastes cerastes Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq
Leaf-Nosed Viper Eristocophis macmaboni Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan
Long-Nosed Viper Vipera ammodytes ammodytes Hungary, Austria, Italy, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania
Palestinian Viper Vipera palaestinae Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan
Rhinoceros Viper Bitis nasicornis Kenya, Uganda, Angola, Zaire
Rough-Scaled Tree Viper Atheris bispidus Kenya, Uganda, Zaire
Russell's Viper Vipera russelli Pakistan, India
Saw-scaled Viper Echis carinatus leakeyi Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia

Closely related groups

  • Adder
  • Pit Vipers may be treated as a subfamily (Crotalinae) of the viper family Viperidae (with "true vipers" or pitless vipers in the subfamily Viperinae), or as a family of their own, Crotalidae.
  • Saharan Horned Viper

References

  • Mehrtens, John M. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishing, 1987. ISBN 080696460X.

de:Vipern

fr:vipère

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