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).