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Common European Viper

  • Snakes

Introduction to the Common European Viper

The Common European Viper is a species of venomous snake that is native to Europe and its bordering countries. It is sometimes also referred to as the European adder or the Common Adder, and its scientific name is Vipera berus. Common European Vipers normally measure about 35 centimeters in length and can weigh up to about 100 grams. They are usually brown or dark-colored with a yellowish-brown pattern that runs along the back and sides of their bodies. In some areas, it can also appear almost black, grey, or dark green in color.

Distribution and Habitat

Common European vipers inhabit a wide range of habitats, from forests and grasslands to rocky hillsides and mountainous terrain. Generally, they will try to stick to areas that are well-sheltered and near a source of water, such as ponds and streams. They are also known to inhabit gardens and semi-urban areas, where they can be seen sunning themselves on stones or logs in the sun.


Common European Vipers are known to be quite shy and tend to only show aggression when they feel threatened. They usually try to evade humans when possible, and will usually flee from them as soon as they detect their presence. They are typically nocturnal in nature, and their peak activity times are typically during the night hours. In the summer, they spend most of their time on the ground basking in the sun, while during the winter they may spend more time hiding in amongst vegetation or small crevices in rocks.


Common European Vipers primarily feed on small mammals, such as voles, moles, shrews, and mice. They are also known to feed on reptiles, amphibians, birds, and other small invertebrates. Generally, they spend most of their time patrolling the surrounding area to find their prey and will usually strike out with their head when they detect a potential food item.

Common European Viper two


Common European Vipers reach maturity between the age of 2 and 3 years, and will usually mate from spring to late summer. Males will fight over potential mates and will usually court them by performing a “dance” in which they raise their bodies up and down to catch the female’s attention. Once a suitable mate is found, the female can lay up to 25 eggs in a clutch, which will usually hatch from late summer until early fall.

Threats to the Common European Viper

Unfortunately, Common European Vipers are facing a number of threats in their native habitats. They are particularly susceptible to habitat loss due to human activities such as urbanization, agricultural land, and the construction of roads and highways. In addition to this, they are also considered a species of “least concern” on the IUCN Red List and as such, face very little protection from the authorities. They are also targeted by poachers and collectors and can be victims of roadkill in some areas.


The Common European Viper is a beautiful and intriguing species of snake that plays a vital role in the European ecosystem. Unfortunately, many of the threats that they face have resulted in a decrease in their populations, which highlights the importance of human responsibility in order to ensure their survival. Conservation efforts must be implemented in order to protect the Common European Viper and its unique place in the environment.

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