Snakes of the world – Part 4.
Large Scaled Green Pit Viper - Image courtsey: Shibu Bhaskar
Family. Viperidae; two sub-families 1. Viperinae 2. Crotalinae.
Of all the poisonous snakes Vipers possess the most peculiar characters. The prominent viviparous nature is just one thing, they possess the biggest fangs with advanced features as they can be raised for use and lowered after use as they are fixed on a vertically movable maxillary bone. In evolutionary status Vipers are ahead of its peers. Viper posses the widest range of snakes with varying life style, shapes, size and habits.
Horned viper Image courtsey: toptraders-egypt.com
The smallest poisonous snake is a Viper family member- the Perunguey’s adder (Bitis peringueyi) of
Cleopatra Image courtsey: mrdowling.com
The pit vipers (A sub-family with four genera Agkistrodon, Lachesis, Sistrurus, and Crotalus), they posses a deep pit adjacent to their nose and hence the name (it may be taken as they live in pits!). These pits have sensory apparatus to understand the atmospheric temperature. The Common Viper (Vipera berus) bear a “v” shaped mark on the back of the head. Vipers are of interest as they are the only poisonous snakes in
Vipers are mostly viviparous only few varieties lay eggs. They are capable of hissing by storing air in their stomach and ejecting it out thereby making frightening sound, these hissing continue for a long time and is loud enough to be heard at long distances, unlike that of cobra which is of short duration. Males are generally pale colored and females sport dark brown or reddish brown colors.
Sacred Viper (Lachesis purpuriomaculatus) they are natives of south eastern
Copper head viper - Image courtsey: wpclipart.com
6b. Pit Vipers (Sub-family Crotalinae) they are represented by four genera Agkistrodon, Lachesis, Sistrurus, and Crotalus. The snake by name “copper head” (A. piscivorous) is yellowish with beautiful brown bars. It is mostly aquatic in nature and feed on fish, frogs small animals like rats and even smaller snakes.
6c. Russel’s viper (Viper russelii)
Russels viper Image courtsey: Sinu Kumar
Found in Indian sub-continent. It is either pale or grey in color with numerous rings. Russell’s viper is one of the most venomous snakes in the world.
Rattle Snakes belong to the Genera Crotalus the skin of these snakes consist of a number of shields the rattle is produced by shaking the scales when they are frightened or disturbed. They live on rocky areas and feed mainly on rodents. The genera sistrulus live in swampy areas.
To be continued...