Vipers are venomous snakes whose long, hinged, hollow fangs inject deadly toxins. Vipers are generally ambush predators and have mouths that can open to almost 180 degrees during a strike. Strikes are primarily aimed at stunning prey though may also be used in self-defence. The 30 genera in the viper family contain over 200 species including rattlesnakes, lanceheads and puff adders. They can be found in unexpected places, living in trees, in water and in the desert, but most live on the ground. Surprisingly, Australia is one of the two continents where vipers are not to be found. The other is - unsurprisingly - Antarctica.
Scientific name: Viperidae
The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
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The Viperidae (vipers) are a family of venomous snakes found all over the world, except in Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Madagascar, Hawaii, various other isolated islands, and north of the Arctic Circle. All have relatively long, hinged fangs that permit deep penetration and injection of venom. Four subfamilies are currently recognised. They are also known as viperids.
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