Blogging Thru the Alphabet – Animals – V is for Viper

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I’m joining in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series with Through the Calm and Through the Storm as well as Adventures with Jude. I will be having animals as my theme.

Here are my past posts in case you missed them:

A for Aardvark    B for Badger    C for Capybara    D for Dodo    E for Eagles  F for Falcons

G for Giraffe  H for Hedgehog   I for Ibis    J for Jackal   K for Killer Whale   L for Leopard

M for Macaw   N for Nyala   O for Okapi  P for Porcupine  Q for Quetzal  R for Rhinoceros

S for Skunk  T for Termite  U for Uguisu

There are two parts to the term “pit viper,” and they both tell you something about these snakes. Let’s start with the second word. All of the snakes in this group are members of the Viperidae family of snakes — vipers for short. The first part of the name, “pit,” refers to the heat-sensing pits these snakes have. The pit viper is best identified by two small holes located on its face, one beneath each eye. These are special organs that allow them to sense their prey and “see” their prey in the dark. It is a “heat sensor”.

Viper

Vipers are characterized by long, hollow venomous fangs that are attached to movable bones on their top jaw. This is what they use to kill their prey and to protect themselves.

Most vipers are slender to stout-bodied snakes with a short tail. Most species have eyes with elliptical pupils that can open wide or close down very narrowly. This enables the snakes to see in a wide range of light conditions. Some vipers have keeled scales (scales with a ridge in their center) while others have smooth scales.

They are found from desert to rainforest. The moccasin is the only aquatic (lives in the water) viper. A Most pit vipers hunt at night when it is cooler. Although they usually stalk smaller forms of warm-blooded prey (mice and rats), they can be deadly to humans if and when they feel threatened.

All of the pit vipers are venomous snakes. But the strength and type of venom varies from one species to another. Consider the difference between the South American bushmaster (Lachesis muta) and the North American copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix). Both are pit vipers, but the potency of their venom differs greatly. A single bite from the bushmaster, even a juvenile specimen, can be fatal. On the contrary, there are very few documented deaths from a copperhead bite. Pit vipers – specifically copperheads – are responsible for more reported bites in the United States than any other type of snake.

There are no vipers native to Madagascar or Australia.

I hope you enjoyed learning about these amazing animals as much as I did! Come back next week when we cover the letter W and learn about the wolf.

Now go check out all the other posts of those who are joining in with Blogging Through the Alphabet. They can post this entire week so make sure to check back and see what has been added!

Enjoy the journey!

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One thought on “Blogging Thru the Alphabet – Animals – V is for Viper

  1. Tim April 5, 2016 at 6:47 pm Reply

    Ah! An animal I recognize even if not one I would like to see in the wild!

    Like

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