Vipers and Pitvipers: Viperidae
Horned Viper (cerastes Cerastes): Species Accounts
Physical characteristics: A thick snake with a short tail, the horned viper has a triangle-shaped head and a long scale over each eye that pokes up like a horn. Some individuals have a ridge over their eyes instead of the two tall horns. They have brown blotches down a gray, yellow- or red-tinged back, and the back and head scales have ridges, or keels. Adults are quite small, usually growing to just 11.8 to 23.6 inches (30 to 60 centimeters), although a few reach 2.8 feet (85 centimeters).
Geographic range: Horned vipers are found in northern Africa and the eastern Sinai.
Habitat: This species lives mostly in sandy areas, sometimes marked with stones and rocks.
Diet: They eat other animals of sandy habitats. These may include small mammals, lizards, and birds.
Behavior and reproduction: This snake is active at night. It hides during the day beneath rocks or in underground tunnels made by other animals. Unlike most snakes, the horned viper can dig into the ground and bury itself. It waits, often with just its horns above the ground, for a prey animal to walk nearby and then strikes and bites the animal. When it slithers, the horned viper slides sideways across the sand in what is known as sidewinding. This is an egg-laying snake, and the females lay between ten and twenty-three eggs at a time.
Horned vipers and people: Since it hides during the day, people rarely see the horned viper. It does, however, sometimes bite people, but the bites are not thought to be that dangerous.
Conservation status: This species is not considered endangered or threatened. ∎
- Vipers and Pitvipers: Viperidae - Cottonmouth (agkistrodon Piscivorus): Species Accounts
- Vipers and Pitvipers: Viperidae - Conservation Status
- Other Free Encyclopedias
Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesVipers and Pitvipers: Viperidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Vipers, Pitvipers, And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE