Vipers are venomous snakes that are part of the Viperidae family. The family comprises about 80 species widespread in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa.
The species “viper berus” is widespread in the north, from Scandinavia to the polar circle. Most are found in Africa (without Madagascar), Asia and Europe.
The vipers probably come from Africa where they have spread adapting to the climatic conditions.
Their food consists mainly of small mammals, which are killed by the venom injected through the viper’s bite.
Viper venom is hemotoxic, destroying the red blood cells and the tissues it comes in contact with, as well as having an anticoagulant action.
By neurotoxic action it can produce parasites.
Some species have specialized in bird hunting. Larger species hunt larger animals, such as: pigs, monkeys, bats, and dwarf antelopes.
Generally, the body of the viper has a length between 20cm and 2m. The body of the snake is wider, on the back often having a sign that looks like the letter V of a triangular shape.
All species within the family are poisonous. The venom is produced by a gland, the poison being injected to the victim by two long teeth located on the upper jaw.
Almost all species are adapted and live on the soil, except the Atheris species in Africa, they lead an arboreal life.
Of the species that live on the ground can be mentioned Bitis peringueyi (horned viper) that moves laterally on the sand or the Adenorhinos viper that moves through sliding movements.
Vipers are generally active during the day and at dusk, with the exception of those in the warm tropical regions, which are active at night. The species that live in temperate climate regions fall in winter into a state of damping called hibernation.
Viper berus is a scary species, in case of danger it tries to hide or run away. Only if it feels directly threatened or is taken in the hand of the fly. The minimum lethal dose at subcutaneous inoculation is 6.45mg / km body weight.
This means that in a 75kg man the lethal dose would be 484 mg, which would mean being bitten by at least 5 vipers. Although the bite of the viper berus is 2-3 times more dangerous than the snake with the bell is not so dangerous due to the small venom deposit.
Her bite can become serious for children or the elderly. Symptoms are present in pain, the place where the bite occurred will crumble, signs of asphyxiation and heart failure, sometimes paralysis.
The breeding period takes place in the spring in April – May, with male fights taking place. Viper berus is ovovivipar, meaning it hatches eggs in the body, and hatched chicks will leave the mother’s body in August – October.
The first mating occurs shortly after birth, after which the snakes become active. The vipers are capable of reproduction at the age of 3-4 years.
Their natural enemies are the birds of prey, the wild boar, the jay, the weasel, the fox, the house cat and some reptiles.