Wildlife in Italy: Common viper

Wildlife in Italy: Common viper

Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Reptiles
Order: Squamata
suborders: Snakes
Family: Viperidae
Kind: Viper
Species: V. aspis

The common viper (Viper aspis) lives all over Europe. It is the species of viperids that can be found most frequently in Italy; it is not present in Sardinia.
It prefers arid and stony environments and stony grounds.
It is a poisonous snake: its bite can be dangerous for humans if the necessary treatments are not provided very quickly. In reality it is a shy animal and when it feels in danger it looks for an escape. He is rarely in the condition to bite to defend himself.

Distinctive characters

It is 60 to 80 cm long, the body is stocky and the tail short (a feature that distinguishes it from the colubrids). The head has a triangular shape with a pointed muzzle. The pupil is vertical.
The color of this reptile is variable from gray to reddish brown, with zigzag or spotted patterns along the entire back. While the belly is lighter and more uniform.


It feeds on small reptiles, rodents, nestlings and small mammals.
It is an ovoviviparous species: the female holds the eggs in the belly until they hatch. The little ones are born already formed.

Common viper - Viper aspis aspis (photo Ericsteinert)

Vipera aspis francisciredi (Laurenti, 1768)

curated by Ivana Stella

Video: Vipera Berus - Adder Courtship - UK Herping - British Wildlife (January 2022).