Horned Adder, the saharan viper

Horned Adder, the saharan viper

Inhabiting the hot deserts of the Sahara and Arabia. The horned adder is a species of snake well known from the Moroccan desert. However, he is especially known for its two small scales above its eyes that form horns. Hence its name. 🤓

The horned viper (Cerastes cerastes) is a venomous serpent that belongs to the "Viperidae" family. It lives in the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East. 

horned adder

1. Description of the Horned Adder

The horned viper owes its name to the two scales on its head that form small horns on most species members. Not very long, it measures on average between 50 and 60 cm. Some specimens can measure 80 cm in adulthood. Its weight varies between 8 kg and more. The female is larger than the males, as for most snakes.

This viper is nicknamed the "little devil," not because of its horns but because it goes out at night. During the day, temperatures can exceed 122°F. During these heavy heats, the horned viper buries itself in the sand. This allows it to maintain its temperature at 93°F while avoiding exposure to temperatures above its resistance threshold of 111°F. 

In captivity, this snake can live up to 18 years. 

horned viper snake

When you live in the desert, it is necessary to develop your displacement. Indeed, this is what the horned viper has done! The lateral displacement in "S" of the viper leaves rather particular footprints on the desert sand. The camel drivers and the desert populations do not have any difficulty recognizing the traces of its passage. This type of movement allows it to reach a speed of 30 mph!

saharan viper

2. Horned Adder Diet

It hunts lizards, following the strategy of desert snakes. The animal buries itself while waiting for the prey to be within range. It only lets its eyes stick out. In addition to lizards, she also captures rodents and beetles. Sedentary in winter, it can travel miles every night during the hot season. Water is a rare commodity in the Sahara. The reptile is satisfied with the water contained in the body of its prey.

horned viper eating lizard

3. Horned Adder Reproduction

The horned viper is ovoviviparous, and its sexual maturity is around 3 to 4 years. The incubation period is about 60 days, and the female lays 8 to 20 eggs. Usually, the snake lays its eggs under rocks or in abandoned reptile and mammal burrows. 

Currently, we have little information on how to reproduce them. However, according to some researchers, the horned viper reproduces in early April. Couples are attracted to each other by pheromones

The young reach maturity at the age of 2 years. 

horned adder in the sand

4. Horned Adder Toxicity

The horned viper has the most elaborate venom injection system that can kill a man, or a camel, in a matter of minutes. Indeed, This viper has solenoglyphous fangs. This allows a deeper injection of the venom and the folding of the fangs when the serpent is in rest. 

The nomads remain very careful and check the surroundings of their camps carefully. They are especially attentive to the traces left in the sand by the snake's movements.  arabian horned viper

5. Summary

The horned viper is a venomous North African snake active at dusk and night. Its sand-colored skin gives it a perfect camouflage once the serpent is stuck in the sand. Only the small horns above the eyes, which consist of a scale, protrude from the surface of the sand. 

👉 Here is the end of our article. If you are interested in adders, do not hesitate to read our article about the death adder

👉 Discover also our large collection of snake rings silver

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