The Nose-horned viper is a venomous snake found in southern Europe and parts of the Middle East. It is reputed to be the most dangerous of the European vipers due to its large size, long fangs, and high venom toxicity. The most distinctive characteristic of these snakes is a single "horn" on their snout. It grows to a length of about 5 mm (0.20 in) and is actually soft and flexible. The color pattern is different for males and females. In males, the head has irregular dark brown, dark gray, or black markings. A thick, black stripe runs from behind the eye to behind the angle of the jaw. The tongue is usually black, and the iris has a golden or coppery color. Males have a characteristic dark blotch or V marking on the back of the head. The ground color for males includes many different shades of gray, sometimes yellowish or pinkish-gray, or yellowish-brown. A row of indistinct, dark (occasionally yellowish) spots runs along each side, sometimes joined in a wavy band. Females have a similar color pattern, except that it is less distinct and contrasting. They usually lack the dark blotch or V marking on the back of the head that the males have. Ground color tends more towards browns and bronzes, such as grayish-brown, reddish-brown, copper, "dirty cream", or brick red. Both sexes have a zigzag dorsal stripe set against a lighter background. The belly color varies and can be grayish, yellowish-brown, or pinkish, "heavily clouded" with dark spots. Underneath, the tip of the tail may be yellow, orange, orange-red, red, or green. Juveniles are about the same color as adults.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Precocial species are those in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. Precocial species are normall...
Ovoviviparity, ovovivipary, ovivipary, or aplacental viviparity is a term used as a "bridging" form of reproduction between egg-laying oviparous an...
Predators are animals that kill and eat other organisms, their prey. Predators may actively search for or pursue prey or wait for it, often conceal...
Dangerous animals demonstrate aggression and a propensity to attack or harass people or other animals without provocation.
Highly venomous animals are able to produce the most toxic venom which is considered to be one of the most debilitating and potentially deadly.
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
Hibernation is a state of minimal activity and metabolic depression undergone by some animal species. Hibernation is a seasonal heterothermy charac...
Nose-horned vipers are found in southern Europe through to the Balkans and parts of the Middle East. They occur in Southern Austria, north-eastern Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, and Greece (including the Cyclades), Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Georgia. These snakes primarily inhabit dry, rocky hillsides with sparse vegetation, open woodland and scrub, and sand dunes. They may also be found in areas of human habitation, such as railway embankments, farmland, and especially vineyards if rubble piles and stone walls are present.
Nose-horned vipers are solitary and depending on location can be active both during the day and night. They hibernate in the winter for a period of 2 to 6 months depending on environmental conditions. Despite their reputation, Nose-horned vipers are not aggressive and tend not to bite without considerable provocation. If surprised, wild specimens may react in a number of different ways. Some remain motionless and hiss loudly, some hiss and then flee, while still others will attempt to bite immediately.
Nose-horned vipers are carnivores. They feed on small mammals and birds. Juveniles prefer lizards. Nose-horned vipers will occasionally eat other snakes and there are also reports of cannibalism.
The mating season for Nose-horned vipers starts in the spring (April-May), right after hibernation. Before mating, the males will engage in a combat dance. This species is ovoviviparous and give birth to live young. Females give birth to 1-20 live young usually in late summer or fall (August–October). Snakelets are born fully developed and are 14-24 cm (5.509.4 in) in total length.
Nose-horned vipers are threatened by the overcollection of their venom and like many other snakes, they suffer from persecution by people.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Nose-horned viper total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and but its numbers today are decreasing.