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Horned Viper

 

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The Horned Viper is known for the distinguishing horns that protrude at the front of its wedge-shaped head. An extremely venomous snake, the Horned Viper traverses the desert in a circuitous, "side-winding" motion.

It escapes the desert heat by burrowing below the sandy surface, enlarging its ribs as it cuts and glides into the cooler sand below. It is from this submerged position that the Horned Viper strikes out at its prey, sinking its sharp, tubular fangs into a rodent or other small mammal.

 

 

To ward off potential predators of its own, the Horned Viper rubs the scales of its back against one another, producing a frightening, "rattling" sound.


There is an uncanny convergence in appearance and behavior between the Horned Viper of the Sahara and the sidewinder (a pit viper) of North America. Both move in a sidewinding manner and both have "horns," perhaps to shade their eyes. The sidewinder, however, like other rattlesnakes, has a rattle on its tail. The horned viper compensates by rattling its scale as a warning.

 

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