15 Different Types of Vipers

Different Types of Vipers
Photo by Sonika Agarwal

Vipers are the largest group of venomous snakes and are found all over the world. Their fangs are positioned in the front of their mouths, making it easy to strike quickly at any prey that comes too close. 

There are 15 different types of vipers, each with distinctive characteristics and subspecies, which can be confusing when you’re trying to tell them apart from one another!

In this article, we’ll look at each viper species and describe what sets them apart, so you’ll know if you come across one in the wild.

1. Pit Vipers

There are 15 different types of vipers, and each one is unique. Pit vipers, for example, have a heat-sensing pit between their eyes and nostrils, and this pit helps them locate warm-blooded prey, even in complete darkness.

They strike quickly and accurately, injecting enough venom to kill their game outright. These snakes can be found worldwide, but mostly in tropical regions.

2. Gaboon Viper

The Gaboon viper is one of the most prominent members of the Viperidae family and can grow up to seven feet in length. They are found in sub-Saharan Africa and get their name from the Gabon region. 

These different types of vipers are usually brown or tan, with large black and white spots covering their bodies. They have long fangs that can deliver a large amount of venom and are considered one of the most dangerous snakes in the world.

The Gaboon Viper (Bitis gabonica) can grow up to 8 feet long and produce an astounding amount of venom–enough to kill 20 people! 

The Gaboon Viper has enormous fangs relative to its body size. A bite from this snake could be fatal within hours if not appropriately treated by medical professionals. Fortunately, the snake prefers rodents and monkeys over humans!

3. Vipera Berus

The common European adder or common European Viper (Vipera berus) is a venomous snake that is extremely widespread and can be found throughout most of Europe, in the northern parts of Asia, and North America.

There are several different types of vipers, all of which are venomous, and the most notable difference between them is the size and shape of their fangs. Some species also have heat-sensing pits on their faces, which help them locate prey.

4. Puff Adder

Puff Adder Different Types of Vipers
Photo by Thomas_Dörner

The puff adder is a giant, stocky snake with a short, blunt head. They are heavy-bodied and can grow up to six feet in length.

Puff adders are found in Africa, south of the Sahara desert. These different types of vipers are usually a dull brown or gray color with dark brown crossbands.

Their diet consists primarily of rodents, using venom to kill their prey. Puff adders are considered one of Africa’s most dangerous snakes due to their large size and potent venom.

5. Cerastes Cerastes

The Cerastes cerastes, or the Sahara sand viper, is a venomous snake found in northern Africa. It is small to a medium-sized snake, typically growing to no more than 60 cm in length.

The Cerastes cerastes is one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa, responsible for many human fatalities each year.

These different types of vipers venom are highly toxic and can cause paralysis and death within hours if left untreated.

The Cerastes cerastes is a shy and reclusive snake that humans rarely see. However, it can be aggressive and strike without warning when it is encountered.

6. Vipera Ammodytes

The Vipera ammodytes, or the European Viper, is a venomous snake found in Europe and Asia. It is the only member of the Vipera genus that is found on both continents.

The European Viper is a relatively small snake, with adults reaching an average length of 60 cm (24 inches). 

These different types of vipers body are stout, and its head is relatively large. The coloration of the European Viper is variable, but most individuals have a light brown or grey body with dark brown or black crossbands.

The venom of the European Viper is not particularly dangerous to humans but can cause severe pain and swelling.

7. Bitis Nasicornis

The Bitis nasicornis, or the horned Viper, is a species of venomous snake in the family Viperidae. It is found in Africa, specifically in countries like Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Its long fangs that can reach up to 2.5 inches in length sets this species apart! Additionally, it has a heat-sensing pit between each eye and nostril that helps it detect warm-blooded prey.

8. Trimeresurus

This genus includes some of the most venomous snakes in the world, such as the Chinese green tree viper. All members of this genus are rear-fanged, meaning their fangs are located at the back of their mouths, allowing them to deliver a large amount of venom with each bite. 

Some species in this genus can grow to over two meters in length, making them one of the largest groups of venomous snakes. The Trimeresurus coraisoides is considered a king cobra due to its long neck and size. 

These different types of Vipers’ color range from brown or olive to reddish-brown, while the underside is cream or yellowish white. There is usually an orange stripe along both sides of the body and dark spots on each scale; some have no holes on top. 

9. Macrovipera Lebetinus

The Macrovipera libertines, or Turkish Viper, is a species of venomous snake in the family Viperidae. The snake is found in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Cyprus. It is a medium-sized snake, with adults reaching up to 80 cm (31 in) in length. 

The Turkish Viper is brown or reddish-brown, with a light brown or whitish zigzag pattern running down its back. The snake is considered dangerous to humans, and bites may result in severe pain, swelling, tissue damage, and even death.

10. Moorish Viper

The Moorish Viper is a species of venomous snake found in North Africa. As its name suggests, this snake is often associated with the Moors, an ethnic group inhabiting parts of North Africa. The Moorish Viper is a relatively small snake, averaging about 50 cm in length. 

It is brown or reddish-brown, with a dark zigzag pattern running down its back. These different types of Vipers are considered highly evil, and their bite can be fatal to humans.

11. Bothriopsis

This species is found in the Amazon rainforest and is considered one of the most dangerous snakes in the area. It has a light brown body with dark brown stripes running down its length. 

The snake is nocturnal and highly venomous, and its venom can cause tissue damage, internal bleeding, and death. B. bilineata is considered a severe threat to humans and other animals alike.

12. Mamushi

The mamushi is a Japanese pit viper with a light brown or reddish body and dark brown spots. It can grow about two feet long and is found in forests and fields. The mamushi is venomous, and its bite can be fatal to humans.

Knowing how to identify these different types of vipers when hiking or camping in Japan is essential. If it bites you, stay calm and call for help. 

Make sure the area around the bite site is immobilized by applying pressure from a tight bandage; do not apply any tourniquet or incision over the wound. If there are symptoms of shock, treat them immediately (call 911).

13. Macrovipera

The Macrovipera libertines, or Turkish Viper, is a species of venomous snake that is found in parts of the Middle East and Asia. It is a giant snake, with adults reaching up to 2.5 meters (8.2 feet).

The Turkish Viper is a member of the true viper family, Viperidae, and is closely related to other European vipers such as the Common European adder (Vipera berus).

The Turkish Viper gets its name from the fact that it is found in Turkey, where it is the only species of Viper. The Macrovipera libertines are also found in Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.

14. Gloydius

The Gloydius is a genus of pitvipers found in eastern Asia, and they are also known as the mamushi, the Japanese word for these snakes. All Gloydius species are venomous and can cause severe injury or death if not treated promptly.

These different types of vipers vary in size and appearance, but all have triangular heads, pits between their eyes and nostrils, and heat-sensing pits on their lower jaws. Gloydius snakes are generally nocturnal hunters, preying on small mammals, lizards, and birds.

15. Bitis Nasicornis

The Bitis nasicornis, or rhinoceros viper, is a venomous snake in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a member of the family Viperidae and is closely related to the African bush viper.

The rhinoceros viper gets its name from the two horns on its snout, which are used to heat its prey before striking.

This species is known for its large size, with some specimens reaching over 2 meters in length. The rhinoceros viper is also one of the most dangerous different types of vipers in Africa, with a high fatality rate among those who are bitten.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many different types of vipers out there. Each one is unique and has its own set of features that sets it apart from the others. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. 

But with a bit of research, you should be able to find the perfect fit for your needs. The anaconda would probably be the best choice for those looking for a high-level predator.

For those looking for something lower on the food chain but still requiring a lot of care, a common tree snake might be better suited.

Remember: as much as these snakes look similar in some ways (no arms or legs), they are all very different in other ways (skin color, venom levels). 

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