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Nosed viperVipera ammodytes
Class Reptiles, or ReptilesReptilia
Snake SquadOphidia, or Serpentes
The Viper FamilyViperidae

Ecology and biology. A rare, oppressed, narrowly endemic species. It is included in the IUCN Red Book and the USSR Red Book. A small snake 40–70 cm long; females are somewhat larger than males. A pointed spike 3-5 mm long rises at the tip of the muzzle. Coloring is yellowish-brown or gray with narrow dark stripes along the back. The ventral side is yellowish gray with dots. The habitat includes northeast Italy, southern Slovakia, western Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia and Syria. It occurs mainly in mixed and coniferous mountain forests, among shrubs on rocky slopes. Often settles near human habitation, and on a warm sunny day it can be seen on the branches of a bush.Although the nosed viper lives in dry places, but if possible willingly goes into the water, can completely immerse in it, and also perfectly floats.

During the breeding season, males arrange mating tournaments similar to those of the ordinary viper. Two males are weaved by the back of the body, lift the front part and, bending S-shaped, abut against each other on the side of the head. Each of the rivals tries to push the other’s head to the side, however, the wrestlers never set their teeth.

It feeds on mouse-like rodents, small birds, and occasionally lizards. The nosed viper is ovoviviparous.

Mating takes place from March to May, and in August-September, females give birth to 20 cubs 20-23 cm long.

Nosed vipers live well in captivity, quickly learn to take both live and dead food. Some individuals survived in captivity until the age of 22.

Abundance and conservation status. According to the Red Book of the USSR, the number of the species was estimated at about 10 thousand individuals. The main reasons for the reduction in numbers are the agricultural development of the habitats of vipers. The view is protected in the Borjomi Reserve. It is planned to create specialized protected areas in places of the highest density on the Meskhet and Trialeti ranges. The species was included in the Red Books of the USSR and Georgia. Protected by the Berne Convention.

The picture of poisoning. May be dangerous especially for children. The toxicity information for natural bites is controversial. Once bitten mice died in 8-10 minutes, and when three bites were applied, after 4 minutes. In a bitten dog, signs of poisoning began to appear after 15 minutes, and after 6 hours an extensive swelling developed. Most sensitive to poison are mice, then rats and birds.

The chemical composition and mechanism of action of the poison. In the composition of the poison, enzymes were found: phospholipase A2, L-amino acid oxidase, proteinase, arginine ester esterase, kininogenase, NGF, serine proteinase inhibitors (two trypsin inhibitors and one chymotrypsin).

The poison has a neurotoxic, hemorrhagic, cardiotoxic and hemolytic effect. The toxicity (DL50) of whole venom, according to various authors, is 0.37-0.8 mg / kg (mice, iv). The toxicity (DL50) of the fraction with phospholipase activity and blocking neuromuscular transmission is 0.021 mg / kg (mouse, iv). In the poison of the Bulgarian subspecies V. a. ammodytes discovered a neurotoxic complex - vipoxin, consisting of toxic alkaline phospholipase A2 and acidic non-toxic protein, which has the properties of a phospholipase inhibitor. In experimental animals, iv administration of the nasal viper venom causes a drop in blood pressure and the development of respiratory failure.

Practical value. Little studied. Additional studies are needed to identify beneficial properties.

Western nosed viper(V. ammodytes ammodytes),
Southern Nosed Viper(V. ammodytes meridionalis),
V. ammodytes montandoni

Transcaucasian subspecies Vipera ammodytes transcaucasiana according to the modern Russian classification, it stands out as a separate species - the Transcaucasian nosed viper (Vipera transcaucasiana).

Last edited by Yormungand, 12/18/2012 at 19:59.

European viper (Vipera berus)


Vipera berus Linnaeus, 1758

Squad: Scaly - Squamata

Suborder: Snakes - Serpentes

Family: Vipers - Viperidae

Status and category of rarity within the Murmansk region: 3, "Rare, in a state close to threatened."

Short description.

Large snake. The body length of the females reaches 75 cm, the males are much smaller. The color of females is from dark brown to black; males can be gray with a zigzag pattern on the back.


The range stretches over a wide strip in Europe from 68 ° in the north to 45 ° in the south. To the east comes to the Russian Far East and North. Korea. The southern border of the Asian part of the range reaches north-west. China and Mongolia. In the Murmansk region found mainly in southwestern districts. The northern border of distribution, according to a survey conducted in 1970 - 1972. Kandalakshsky reserve does not go beyond the forest zone. The northernmost find is the Sebaceous tundra (since 1983 - the territory of the Lapland Nature Reserve). Often found on cliffs and coastal meadows (Velikiy Island), in the coastal part of Porya Bay, on Turyi Cape, where it breeds.

Habitats and features of biology.

It prefers well-heated places on the mountain slopes of the southern expositions of the forest zone. It lives on the shores of various reservoirs. It does not avoid the anthropogenic landscape, but is not found in areas of strong anthropogenic impact. Depending on weather conditions, the period of activity usually begins in late May - early June and ends in late August - early September. Oviparous snake. In the Kandalaksha Reserve (Great Island), over 10 years of observations, reproduction was observed only for 2 years. In the first year, on a site of about 0.5 ha, where the same tagged pregnant females (6 individuals) lived during the entire breeding period. 2 yearlings were found there. In 2008, 2 yearlings were found on the Lobanich cordon. As nutrition and weather conditions deteriorate, snake accumulations gradually decrease due to excess mortality over fertility. Some individuals creep in search of food in other places. Vipers winter in small groups or alone (this depends on the number of snakes). In the Murmansk region surface soil layers have voids below the freezing boundary. Vipers use them for wintering. In winter, the thickness of the snow cover is not the same; in the spring, thawing of the upper layer of soil is uneven, therefore, in the same district vipers leave the shelters at different times. The viper is poisonous, but not aggressive. She prefers to hide rather than attack. Being in the immediate vicinity of a person, often makes false attacks and fake bites (beats in the face). The animal uses poisonous teeth as a last resort. The venom of a viper is a digestive juice, for its formation additional energy is required, which in the north should be spent sparingly. In the Murmansk region no deaths due to a viper bite have been reported.

Number and its change.

It is rare. Not numerous. The distribution is focal, as a result of which the indicators of reconnaissance routes are unreliable. Until 1990, the largest foci were noted in the Kandalaksha and Kovdor districts. According to surveys conducted in 2008 on about. Great, their numbers ranged from 0 to 10 individuals per 1 km. One individual was met in 2013 in the Gorodetsky threshold district on the shore of the Babye Sea Bay (Kovd Peninsula), where it had not previously been encountered. The viper was discovered by the local population in the summer of 2013 in the okr. Kirovsk and the city of Murmansk, marked on the shores of Lake. Repoyarvi, which is 27 km from the village. Alakurtti.

Limiting factors and threats.

The environmental conditions in the north by themselves greatly limit the abundance of the species. Human economic activity changes natural ecosystems and destroys the habitats of vipers. There are numerous cases of deliberate destruction of snakes by humans.

Taken and necessary security measures.

Presented in the Kandalaksha and Lapland reserves. It is necessary to create protected areas in the most representative habitats in the Kandalaksha district. Recommended propaganda of knowledge about reptiles, public education. A critical habitat is a forest or land allotment (or a group of allotments adjacent to each other), where snakes are regularly observed.

Compiled by: Panarina N. G., Shklyarevich F. N.

Photographer: Bykov Yu. A.

Red Book of the Murmansk region. 2nd ed. - Kemerovo, 2014 .-- S. 517-518.


The skull of a serpent is diapside, but both temporal arches are absent. The front brain box is ossified, which protects the brain when swallowing large prey. The skull of most snakes is characterized by a strong development of kinetism, that is, many bones of the skull are mobile relative to each other. In snakes, square, connected with them scaly, as well as maxillary, maxillary, palatine and pterygoid bones, which are connected to the brain by elastic ligaments, are very mobile. The angular, arched, and articular bones of the lower jaw are fused, and a movable joint is present between them and the dental bone. Both halves of the lower jaw are connected by an elastic ligament. Such a system of movably articulated bones promotes extremely wide opening of the mouth, which is necessary for swallowing large prey as a whole, and also provides the possibility of independent movements of the right and left halves of the jaw apparatus when pushing the prey into the throat with alternate interception. All this allows the snakes to swallow a relatively very large prey, often often exceeding the thickness of the body of the snake in size.

The teeth of snakes are located on the dental, maxillary, pterygoid and sometimes on the maxillary bones. The teeth are sharp and thin, adhered to the edges of the jaw bones or connected to the jaw using special ligaments. In poisonous snakes, large sharp, backward-curved poisonous teeth are located on the maxillary bones. Such teeth have a groove on the front surface or the inner canal, through which the poison bites into the wound. In viper snakes, due to the mobility of shortened maxillary bones, poisonous teeth can rotate 90 °. Poisonous teeth in some cases (in the Gabon viper) reach a length of up to 4.5 cm.

Snakes are distinguished by a large number of vertebrae (from 200 to 450).

There is no sternum, as well as a chest, and when swallowing food, the ribs move apart. The shoulder girdle is absent. Pelvic girdle rudiments persist in some primitive snake families.

Internal organs

Internal organs are elongated and asymmetrically located. In addition, some of the paired organs lost one half and became unpaired. For example, in the most primitive snakes both lungs are developed, but the right one is always larger than the left one, in most snakes the left lung completely disappears, or rudimentarily. Vipers and some other snakes, in addition to the right lung, also have the so-called "tracheal lung", formed by the expanded posterior part of the trachea. The lightest in its rear part is transformed into a thin-walled air tank. It is very extensible, and the snake can swell greatly when inhaling, and when exhaling it can emit a loud and prolonged hiss.

The snake's esophagus is very muscular, which makes it easier to push food into the stomach, which is an elongated sac that passes into a relatively short intestine.

The kidneys are very elongated, and the bladder is absent. The testes are also elongated, the copulative organ of males is a pair of bags, usually equipped with spines of various sizes and sizes. These bags lie under the skin behind the anus and turn outward when excited. There are four sections in the oviducts of snakes: the funnel, the protein part, the egg chamber and the uterus. The protein division of the oviducts of snakes is similar in histological structure to the similar division of the oviduct of birds, but is noticeably shorter. The eggs are in the egg chamber for a very long period. At this time, the egg chamber plays the role of an incubator: it supplies the eggs with moisture and provides gas exchange for the embryo.

Sensory organs

The eyes are protected by a kind of "lens" - fused transparent eyelids. There are no external ears, but snakes feel vibration from the ground and sounds in a fairly narrow frequency range.

Compared to other reptiles, snakes have the most developed organ of thermal sensitivity, which is located on the facial fossa between the eye and nose on each side of the head. In pit snakes, radars can even determine the direction of the source of thermal radiation. At the same time, they perceive infrared radiation emanating from surrounding objects, not as electromagnetic waves, namely, as heat.


Snakes have mastered almost all the living spaces of the Earth, except air. There are snakes on all continents except Antarctica. They are common from the Arctic Circle in the north to the southern tip of the American mainland. Especially numerous are snakes in the tropical regions of Asia, Africa, South America and Australia.

They prefer to live in areas with a hot climate. They live in various environmental conditions - forests, steppes, deserts, in the foothills and mountains.

Snakes are mostly terrestrial, but some species live underground, in water, on trees. When adverse conditions occur, for example, as a result of a cold snap, snakes hibernate.


All known snakes are predators. They feed on a variety of animals: vertebrates and invertebrates. There are species of snakes that specialize in eating a certain type of prey, that is, stenophages. For example, Crab Regina rigida ) feeds almost exclusively on crayfish, and egg snakes ( Dasypeltis ) - only eggs of birds.

Non-poisonous snakes swallow prey alive (for example, snakes) or pre-kill it by compressing the jaws and pressing the body to the ground (slender snakes) or strangling the body in rings (boas and pythons). Poisonous snakes kill prey by injecting poison into its body with the help of specialized venomous teeth.

Snakes tend to swallow prey as a whole. The swallowing mechanism consists in alternating movement of the right and left halves of the lower jaw (the snake, as it were, pulls itself onto prey).