What Is a Common European Viper?
A Common European Viper (also known as the European Adder) is a venomous snake that is found throughout the continents of Europe and parts of Asia. The snake is a member of the family Viperidae and is the most widespread venomous species in Europe, Since the species is so wide-spread, it is of utmost importance to be aware of its appearance, behavior, and habitat in order to avoid accidental or unexpected encounters.
Appearance and Habitat
The Common European Viper typically measures between 18-30 inches long in length, however, some may be longer in length. They usually range in color from shades of brown to red and even gray, depending on their environment. In cooler climates, they tend to be darker, while in warmer climates their colors tend to be lighter. The body of the Common European Viper is both stout and relatively short and their head is distinctively triangle in shape, which allows for easy identification. Additional identifying features of the snake include a heat-sensitive pit between their eyes and nostrils, small scales on their head, and a bold and bright yellow “V” or “X” shaped pattern on their back and tail.
Common European Vipers can be found in many different habitats, such as woodlands, hedgerows, meadows, mountains and even near and around human dwellings. They usually prefer cool, moist, and semi-arid areas, and they will often hide in hollow logs or in vegetation. They tend to thrive in habitats with abundant prey and can often be seen blending in to the environment with their camouflaged physical features.
The Common European Viper is a relatively docile creature and will usually not attack unless provoked or irritated. When they feel threatened they will often throw their body into a coil-like position and shake their tail to produce a rattling sound. If the situation warrants, they may also hiss loudly to express displeasure. You will also often see them displaying other defensive behavior such as raising the top part of their body or flicking the tongue.
The snakes typically feed on small rodents, birds, amphibians and insects that can be found in their habitat. The snakes are typically nocturnal, meaning they are normally most active at night; however, on some occasions they can be seen basking in the sun to both regulate their body temperature and also to help them digest their food.
Can You Pet a Common European Viper?
The short answer to this question is “No.” Common European Vipers are venomous creatures and, as such, it is not advisable to attempt to pet one. While the snake’s venom is usually not fatal to humans, it can still cause serious tissue damage, resulting in swelling and pain, as well as other various symptoms. Additionally, not all Common European Vipers are the same, and some may sometimes be more aggressive and unpredictable, which can be very dangerous to those who come too close.
The best thing to do when encountering a Common European Viper is to simply leave it alone and, if possible, try to safely get away from the area.
The Common European Viper is a venomous creature, and as such, it is not advisable or safe to attempt to pet one. The snakes typically have no aggression towards humans, but it is still important to exercise caution when encountering them in the wild or near a human dwelling. It is always best to simply give the snakes their space and leave them alone.
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