Skip to content

» Horned Snake | A lethal viper

Do you like snakes? We introduce you to the sand snake, also called the horned serpent; one of the most lethal snakes in the world. If you are interested in learning more about this wild animal, read on.

We will show you what it is like, where it lives, what it feeds on, how it reproduces, what its predators are and more about these wild animals that live in the desert. You will be fascinated after learning more about it.

What the Horned Snake looks like

This beautiful viper is characterized by two protruding horns located above its eyes; hence, its name of the horned viper. It also has a skin covered with sand-colored scales, which gives it an incredible camouflage as it wanders through its habitat. On its upper scales, it also has brown scale patterns. Also, its central area is white, yellowish, or very light brown. The length of the sand viper is 60 to 80 cm.

It is head is wide and triangular in shape, which as a curious fact indicates that it is a poisonous snake. Did you know that 99% of venomous snakes have a triangular head? It is a perfect and easy way to recognize them. Their tusks are hollow, that is, they are connected to the cavity of the venom, and there they inject it.

Despite being a skillful predator, as we will see later, this snake when it feels in danger makes a sound that produces when it rubs its scales; which warns its predators to move away, or else it will resort to its attack.

Where the Horned Snake lives

It is widely distributed throughout the deserts of Africa and the Middle East. It usually lives in the desert and arid areas of these countries. It adapts very well to this type of sandy terrain; it usually moves obliquely using all its body, and thanks to its flattened shape it does not sink into the sand. This viper is in a state of conservation in countries such as Israel, and places that are within its territory.

What it feeds on

The sand viper does not hunt large animals, so it is limited to small mammals and birds, insects, and lizards. It is a nocturnal animal, that is, it activates at night when the temperature drops and its prey goes out to look for food. It actively searches for its prey; however, it also uses camouflage and the surprise factor to catch its victims. Once he has them close and in his sights, he quickly injects his potent poison, acting as a potent killer. It is estimated that he can kill a sparrow between 27 and 90 seconds.

How it reproduces

Being a reptile, they reproduce in an oviparous way. Between April or July, they begin to look for and formalize their partner; already between July and August, they lay their eggs. They can put from 8 to 20 eggs, which will last in the shell about 6 or 8 weeks, and then hatch. Newborn hatchlings have a length of 14 to 17 cm.

What are their predators?

The sand snake has few predators, including large birds such as eagles and falcons.

However, the greatest threat to this snake is the destruction of its habitat and the obligatory movement to other places to live. This is because man has increasingly invaded its territory for purposes such as agriculture.

Other interesting facts about this snake

The sand snake is an animal much sought after by North African “snake charmers” for their shows. Having an intimidating appearance, they are the main act. However, being hard to find, these people turn to a relative of this hornless snake, the Cerastes Vipera; but noticing this inconvenience of not possessing horns, they incrust two spikes of porcupine in the head to obtain the appearance of the horns. As expected, this poor animal suffers so much that it soon dies. This allows us to see the Machiavellian and ruthless mind of some human beings.

This animal belongs to the genus Cerastes. Its name in Greek means “to have horns.” However, of the three species of Cerastes that exist, only two have horns; the Cerastes Vipera, already mentioned in the previous paragraph, lacks this characteristic. But it may also be the case that the other two Cerastes do not have them. In the same litter of offspring, there can be variations in the aspect, being of the same species.

Concerning their horns, their functionality is not yet known with certainty, but there are many speculations. Some theories say that they help keep sand out of the eyes, protecting them from it.