About animals

Steppe Viper (lat


Ecology and biology. The size of the steppe viper, as a rule, does not exceed 60 cm, while the females are somewhat larger than the males. A characteristic difference from an ordinary viper is the pointedness and elevation of the lateral edges of the muzzle above its upper part. The nostrils cut through the lower part of the nasal scutes. A dark zigzag strip is visible along the ridge against a general grayish-brown background.

It lives in the Crimea, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, and the steppe regions of the Caucasus. The density of settlement is very uneven. For example, on the coastal cliffs of the Taganrog Bay of the Sea of ​​Azov, there were up to 165 individuals per 1 km of the path, while in Azerbaijan it is the smallest poisonous snake.

It feeds on rodents, small birds, insects, preferring locusts. Mass awakening from hibernation in March - early April.

In August – September, females bring 5–6 cubs up to 12–18 cm long. Of the enemies of the steppe viper, an owl, a black kite, and especially the lizard snake Malpolon monspessulanus should be noted.

Separate cases of death of horses and small cattle from the bites of the steppe viper are known.

When meeting with a man, the snake tends to crawl away, but when pursuing it actively throws its head towards the enemy and tries to bite.

The picture of poisoning. At the site of the bite, severe pain, hyperemia, swelling, spreading far beyond the site of the bite. In place of hemorrhagic blisters, necrotic patches may form. Drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, palpitations, and a decrease in body temperature are observed. Traces of blood in the urine.

First aid. There is no specific serum. Antigyurz anti-snake serum is recommended.

In all cases, timely medical attention is needed.

The chemical composition and mechanism of action of the poison. The following enzymes were detected in the poison: phospholipase A2, 5'-nucleotidase, phosphodiesterase, non-specific alkaline phosphomonoesterase, proteinases, including those with kininogenase activity, NGF.

Toxicity (DL50) of whole venom 0.77 mg / kg (mouse, iv). Absolutely lethal dose for mice with sc administration of 10 mg / kg. The death of experimental animals occurs from respiratory arrest.

At a concentration of 1 • 10–2 g / ml, the poison causes inhibition of the activity of an isolated heart. When iv is administered to cats at a dose of 0.02 mg / kg, a sharp drop in blood pressure develops and intravascular coagulation increases.

At a concentration of 5 • 10-4 g / ml, the venom causes a decrease in smooth muscle tone. In sublethal doses it has a radioprotective effect.

Practical value. Included in the composition of drugs. It is possible to use as a source of enzymes, in particular, 5'-nucleotidase.

Poisonous animals and plants of the USSR / B.N. Orlov, D. B. Gelashvili, A.K. Ibrahimov. - M .: Higher. school, 1990. - 272 s

Description General Description

It is poisonous and poses a danger to humans and pets.

Inhabited on the vast territory of the Eurasian continent, these snakes often catch their eye, but due to the constant hunt for their poison and the destruction of their favorite habitats, their number is constantly decreasing.

Place of habitat

The places where the snake lives cover the southeastern regions of the European part. These include the territories of Germany, the Republic of Slovenia, Italy, Hungary, France, the Republic of Kazakhstan, Ukraine and others.

On Russian territory, this type of viper can be found in the Volga region, the Caucasus, and southern Siberia. In the north, the border of the habitat passes through the Volga-Kama region, in the east it reaches the Altai Territory and Dzungaria.


The body of the snake reaches 55-57 cm, the length of the tail is 8-10 cm. In some regions of the Volga region, more impressive specimens up to 61 cm come across. How the steppe vipers look can be seen in the photo:

an elongated head, in the upper part there are irregularly shaped plates, elongation is observed along the edges of the muzzle. Colors range from brown to gray. On a light back there is a characteristic zigzag strip.


Snakes live in clusters, sometimes up to 160 individuals per 1 sq. M can be counted on one focus of the cluster. km Natural areas where the steppe viper is found include steppes, forest-steppes, foothill and mountainous areas. It can be found both on flat terrain and high in the mountains (up to 2700 m above sea level). Most often, snakes of this species live on the slopes, banks of ponds, meadows, salt marshes.

What does it look like

To get to know better, we suggest you take a look at the photo and familiarize yourself with a brief description of the appearance of the snake.

The view is divided into 2 subspecies:

  • western steppe viper (Vipera ursinii),
  • Eastern Steppe Viper (Vipera renardi).
The latter is found only on the territory of the Republic of Moldova.

Habitat, habitat and lifestyle

The steppe viper lives in countries located in southern Europe, in the south and southeast of Ukraine, in Kazakhstan, in some districts of Russia, in particular, in the Ciscaucasia, the Caucasus, the Rostov region, southern Siberia, and Altai. It is also found in Asia Minor, in the northern parts of Iran and Uzbekistan, in the Chinese provinces located in the north-west of the country. The usual habitats for the snake are plain and mountain steppes, meadows, slopes, hollows, semi-deserts. In the mountains it can be seen at an altitude of 2.5–2.7 thousand meters above sea level.

The highest population density is observed in the steppes - approximately 6 individuals per 1 ha. Although there are more dense clusters - up to 10-12 individuals per 1 ha. The housing for the snake are stones, voids in the ground, abandoned burrows of small animals.

Active snakes from March to October. The rest of the time they sleep. They leave hibernation after warming the air temperature to +4. +8 degrees. They crawl slowly, activity develop only at the time of an attack on prey or during flight. They are good swimmers. They can crawl through shrubs and low trees. In the morning and afternoon, they bask in the sun, and in the evening and at night they usually hide. Three times a year, when the temperature is within +15 degrees, representatives of this species molt. This process takes no more than a quarter of an hour.

Owners, eagles, storks, hedgehogs, foxes, badgers, ferrets, lizard snakes are natural enemies for the steppe viper. Among the snakes that live in our latitudes, this species is the most dangerous for humans.

What eats

The nutrition of the steppe viper is very diverse. Its food interests include orthoptera insects, lizards, small birds, rodents, bird eggs, frogs, spiders, arachnids.

Like all snakes, vipers swallow prey as a whole, and then digest it for several hours or days.

Mating season and breeding

Sexual maturity in steppe vipers occurs when they reach two years of age. Mating takes place in April-May. The peak of snake aggression falls on the same period. Vipers are viviparous. The process of gestation lasts 17 weeks. One female can lead up to 10 cubs 12-13 cm long and 3-4 kg in weight. As a rule, immediately after birth, they molt. They can start an independent life immediately after leaving the mother’s womb.

Is a bite dangerous?

To avoid the attack of a snake in places where it can inhabit, you should walk with a stick, which must be rustled in front of you on the grass. So the bastard can leave on time, and he will not have to resort to an attack. It is imperative to watch where to sit. Avoid old stumps, thickened vegetation. If the snake caught on the road, then you can not make sudden movements, wave at it. You should go around it, carefully step back, but do not turn your back to it.

If the bite of the viper could not be avoided, you must:

  1. Lay the victim down.
  2. Call an ambulance, as soon as possible deliver the person to the medical center or introduce snake serum yourself (if any).
  3. In the first 20 minutes, try to suck out the poison, while washing your mouth more often.
  4. Treat the bite site with an antiseptic.
  5. Apply a bandage.
  6. Immobilize the affected limb by applying a tire.
  7. Give the victim an antihistamine.
  8. Provide a bitten drink to the bitten.
  9. Put cold in the bite.
Transportation of the bitten to the medical center occurs in a lying position.

  • redness and hemorrhage at the site of the bite,
  • growing pain
  • cyanosis of the bite site,
  • general weakness
  • dizziness,
  • lethargy,
  • drowsiness,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea,
  • dyspnea,
  • visual impairment
  • tissue necrosis.

The main symptoms appear 10-15 minutes after the bite.

The most dangerous are bites applied to the head and neck. Avoid attacks against children, allergy sufferers, hypertensive patients, people with heart disease. For them, the consequences can be very serious, and the recovery is long. The hotter it is on the street, the more rapidly will intoxication of the body proceed. With the timely provision of medical care, a person quickly recovers from a bite and returns to normal life.

Thus, the steppe viper is widespread in various countries of Eurasia, but its population is declining every year. This snake is a danger to humans, but attacks him only for protection. If a bitten person is promptly provided with medical care and injected anti-snake serum, then he can get off with only a slight startle. With the late provision of medical care or if the bite was received by a person at risk, the development of problems such as tissue necrosis, sepsis, severe allergic reactions, renal failure. Deaths after attacks of this reptile species are unknown.

Report on the Steppe Viper

The steppe viper is a class of reptiles from the order of scaly snakes. It is poisonous, with an average size of 60.0 cm. It lives in Western Europe, Russia, the Caucasus and Kazakhstan. Lives mainly along the shores of reservoirs, in dense grass, and in thickets of small shrubs. Life expectancy can reach 30 years. From October to April hibernates, climbing into holes, crevices and under the roots of trees.

There are several subspecies of the steppe viper, depending on its habitat. The steppe viper is a viviparous snake.

The body of the snake is gray, along the ridge a dark brown stripe, in the form of a zigzag. On the head a drawing of the correct form. Occasionally, in nature there are steppe vipers of a darker, almost black color.

The steppe viper is a predator, feeds on small rodents, lizards and insects. Steppe vipers hunt at night, and sleep during the day. An important role in the search for food is played by the ability of the snake to perceive the heat coming from the bodies of mammals.

The bifurcated tongue of the steppe viper is an organ of smell, and is in constant motion - this is how the snake determines the location of prey.

Transparent eyelids protect the viper's eyes from injury. Vision is designed so that the snake notices the slightest movement, so it instantly attacks the victim or hides from danger.

The body of the snake is very sensitive to vibrations, in connection with this, the steppe vipers quickly respond to the approach of a person or animal.

In the natural habitat, the steppe viper can become prey for foxes, owls and eagles, and storks and herons become its enemies near ponds and swamps.

Vipers use their poison for self-defense and hunting for prey. Isolation of the poison occurs with the help of fangs located in the mouth of the snake. When providing first aid, the effects of poison on a person are not fatal. Previously, poison was extracted and used for medical purposes. Nowadays, due to the reduction in the number of snakes, such work has been discontinued.

Populations of steppe vipers are constantly decreasing, due to an increase in arable land and drainage of swamps. Currently, the reptile is listed in the Red Books of Russia, Ukraine and some European countries.

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These snakes hibernate every winter. To do this, they look for cavities, mink rodents, crevices in the ground, hollows on steep slopes. Waking up to the month of March-April, the snake begins to look for a mating partner. This is mainly done by males.

At this time, they are especially aggressive and can attack a person. From June to August on the stones you can often see pregnant females lying in the sun. Having met a man, they will not attack, but will try to quickly hide in the grass.


  1. Insects (locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders).
  2. Rodents (gophers, hamsters, mice).
  3. Medium-sized birds: such as field harrier, chicks, bird eggs.
  4. Frogs.
  5. Lizards.

The snake needs 2 to 4 days to digest food. This animal perfectly floats and climbs trees, so getting food for him is not difficult.


The mating season begins in April and lasts until the end of May. Viper is a viviparous reptile, cubs are born in August-September. The female carries offspring 3-3.5 months.

Usually in one litter there are from 3 to 16 cubs, 12-13 cm in size, 3.2-4.5 g in weight. Sexual maturity is reached by the third year of life, when the snake's body reaches 28-30 cm.


Feeding mainly on insects such as locusts, vipers of this species provide serious assistance to humans in the fight against these pests. Fatal cases are rare, but for medicine it is an excellent medicine for the muscle and circulatory system.

Since the snake is poisonous, and its poison has a strong effect on the human body, hunting was opened on it. In Romania, it is still legalized. For livestock and pets, viper bites are very dangerous.

Severe edema, internal hemorrhage, toxicity sometimes leads the animal to death or permanently deprives the ability to move. This is another reason for the ruthless extermination of vipers by man.


Like any animal, the steppe viper has enemies, from which neither the action of the poison, nor the length of the teeth, nor the ability to mask itself can save it. These include:

The danger of attack threatens vipers at any time of the day. However, the most serious enemy is man. People catch these animals in order to obtain snake venom.

Life span

The ability to quickly adapt to the environment, unpretentiousness in living conditions allow the steppe viper to live up to 30 years.

Their average life expectancy is 15-17 yearsbut under good conditions there are also centenarians. However, much depends on the subspecies of the snake and its habitat. Reptiles living in the Swiss Alps die within 5-7 years, having managed to bring offspring 2-3 times.

In captivity, the steppe vipers live only 3-5 months, although they tried to breed them for the sake of getting poison in terrariums.

Red Book

Steppe viper is listed in Red Book of Ukraine, Of Russia, the international Red Book, as well as the Nile and Dinnik Vipers, as well as the Caucasian viper. She has the status of an animal to be protected by the Berne Convention. The species tends to decrease in numbers. This was influenced by land development, deforestation and plowing of new areas for crops.

Interesting Facts

  • It is interesting to watch how the hedgehog preys on the Caucasian or Crimean steppe viper, to make such photos is a great success. These spiny animals are immune to snake venom.
  • They use an attack and defense strategy: having bitten a viper, the hedgehog immediately turns into a ball, defending itself with needles.
  • Scientists estimate that 70 milliseconds are enough for a snake to pounce, bite, inject poison and jump back to its original place. Sometimes a viper bite can be painful, and sometimes barely noticeable.

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