Differences between viper and gambling den: how to distinguish apoisonous snakefrom a non-poisonous snake. Images of the common viper, the various Italian species and snakes.
Walks through woods and countryside leave ample room for snake bites but, fortunately, there are only five poisonous species in Italy. In this article I will try to explain to youhow to distinguish vipers from snakes explaining the most evident differences between these two snakes and above all leaving you with representative images.
In the article dedicated to viper bite I have already explained to you how to tell if you have received a bite from a viper or a non-venomous snake. Now we will focus on the characteristics of these animals.
Differences between viper and grass snake
The first most tangible difference lies in the eye.
The eye of snakes, as well as of all non-poisonous snakes (colubers), has a particularly rounded pupil. On the contrary, theviperit has a higher and less rounded pupil. In the images present on this page I will try to point out these differences. In the photo below, you can see the eye of a viper with the pupil extending in height, similar to that of a cat.
Therecommon viperit has a pupil exactly like the one shown in the photo below. Others Italian vipers they may have the widest pupil horizontally but still very different from that of a gambling den.
The body also changes. The common snake has a rather long tail while the tail of the viper is more stocky.
If you have the opportunity to observe the teeth, which snakes show when they feel threatened, you will notice that the arch of the snake is glifa, that is, devoid of poisonous fangs while these are present and evident in theviper. The viper has two very evident front fangs (placed on the upper jaw). They are poisonous fangs that leave a very deep mark in case of a bite. The viper bite is characterized precisely by two more evident holes spaced about 0.5 cm - 1 cm. While the snake bite does not see particularly deep grooves and all the signs of the dental arch have the same depth.
In Italy we have 5 species ofvipers poisonous. These are:
- Vipera aspis, the most widespread and known as the common viper.
- Vipera berus, present only in the Alpine and Apennine regions.
- Vipera ammodytes, is the most poisonous, present in the Alpine and pre-Alpine regions. Also note ashorned viper.
- Ursini viper, present only in the Abruzzo and Umbria-Marche Apennines.
- Walser viper, present in the Western Alps and in particular in the province of Biella
In Italy, in addition to vipers, there are other poisonous snakes although usually not dangerous to humans: among these we point out thelacertine colubro Malpolon monspessulanus, present in limited areas such as Liguria and Lampedusa and theEuropean cat snake Telescopus fallax, present in the north-east of our country.
Color cannot be a discriminating factor, as the color of the viper varies not only between different species but also in the juvenile form compared to the adult and in the female compared to the male. The first photo above shows a female specimen ofcommon viper.
In the photo above, onehorned viper, also known asViper ammodytes, is present in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino Alto Adige and other Alpine and pre-Alpine areas of Italy. In addition to the characteristic horn, like all the othersItalian vipers, this too has a pupil which is not rounded but flattened on the sides and which extends more vertically. We chose this oneimageof thehorned viperbecause the pupil seems to be very large ... despite the maximum extension, you can see the difference with the eye of thesnake visible in the photo below.
The photo above shows a grass snake with a collar (Natrix natrix),the head is less stocky but above all the shape of the perfectly rounded pupil.
How to distinguish a snake from a viper?
Warning! As stated, the body and the colors cannot be discriminating because they vary between the many species and between the various forms of the same specimen.
Theresnakewhich is most often confused with theviperand theNatrix maura,also known assnake snakeorsnake snakeorviper natrice. These names are related precisely to the similarity of this species ofsnakewith theviper. In Italy, the snake snakeit is widespread only in some regions of the north. To dispel any doubts, even in this case I will point out an image, the one below. You will notice that the body, while being more like that of oneviper(therefore more stocky than that of the other snakes) leaves no doubt if the head and eye are carefully examined, where there is always a circular pupil.
It is true, grasping this detail is not easy, especially when you are in the throes of the turmoil of the moment. Alternatively, you should observe the teeth and its bite, but better not have the opportunity!
To enjoy walks in the woods and avoid the risk of asnake bite or viper bite, you just need to follow some common sense rules:
- Do not put your hands on branches and walls where you have no visibility of what you can find.
- Avoid lying down in areas where vegetation is dense.
- If you hang a jacket from a branch or put it on the ground, before putting it on, shake it well and check it carefully.
- Walk with a stick that you will have to beat against stones and vegetation, thevipersthey do not have good hearing but are sensitive to vibrations, in this way they will move away before feeling threatened and having to go on the attack.
- If you are not sure and you still don't knowdistinguish snakes from vipers, avoid approaching it to observe it or to take pictures! Better to give more space to prudence.