Viperidae – Vipers
Some rattle and some don’t, but you better be warned because they all have a deadly slit-eyed stare, long fangs, and a lethal bite
The Viperidae family, broadly consisting of vipers or adders (viperinae) and pit vipers (crotalinae), spread worldwide, except in Antarctica and a few isolated islands. All Viperids are venomous with long foldable hollow fangs capable of penetrating deep into the target. Vipers are stocky short-tailed snakes with distinct triangular heads.
Pitvipers have more distinguishing features like heat-sensitive pit organs (thus the name ‘pit’-viper) just below the eyes on both sides (used to sense warm-blooded prey) and the fascinating tail of the rattlesnakes. Keratinized segments vibrating 90 times a second are responsible for the iconic rattling sound used as a warning sign. Viperids’ bites can be fatal, killing 30 to 40 thousand people yearly (most in Asia, with India leading the tally).
Genera in this family
Known for producing buzzing rattling sounds with their tails
Small in size, strong in venom
Known for the ability to inflate themselves when triggered
Small venomous snakes found in Asia, Africa and Arabia; also named saw-scaled vipers
Also known as American moccasins; endemic to North America
These slender and arboreal also called palm-pitviper; occur mainly in Central America
Where beauty meets danger
Their venom, a potent blend of molecules honed through time, serves as both a weapon and a tool for survival