spider tailed horned viper



Spider Tailed Horned Viper (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides) - 

This rare and understudied viper has adapted a different type of hunting strategy.  Unlike its cousins who use their tails as warning rattles, this small viper uses its strange looking tail as a caudal lure.  The growth on the end of its tail resembles a spider crawling about, and it twitches it in such a way that captures the attention of animals that prey on spiders such as small mammals and birds.  

Although this snake is extremely well adapted and special, specimens found for study are few and far between, so not much is known about its behavior, reproduction habits and lifestyle.  It was not described officially until 2007.  The first specimen found in 1968 was thought to have an abnormal growth on its tail.  Another was not collected until 2003.  Both were found in the deserts of Iran.


Spider Tailed Horned Viper: In western Iran there lives an endangered snake that preys on birds, and carries its own lure at the end of its tail. It has an appendage that looks just like a spider. 

atropine  asked:

Do you have a favorite snake, if so can we see? Also, thanks for delighting my feed with these beautiful creatures, and the knowledge that comes with.

Cheers and welcome. Thank you for your kind words. Choosing favs is hard… but here are a few that I think are really cool:

(Naja nigricollis) black-necked spitting cobra

(Naja nivea) Cape cobra

(Pseudechis porphyriacus) red-bellied black-snake

(Crotalus oreganus cerberus) Arizona black rattlesnake

(Pseudocerastes urarachnoides) spider-tailed horned viper

(Cerastes cerastes) Saharan horned desert viper

(Bitis gabonica rhinoceros) West African Gaboon viper

(Bitis nasicornis) Rhinoceros viper


Spider-tailed Horned Viper
Pseudocerastes urarachnoides

First discovered in the 1960’s and then rediscovered in 2006, this very interesting viper species is very unique to science. Its tailis extremely bizarre, and has evolved to mimic that of a solifugid, spider, scorpion or centipede. It is used as a lure to attract prey, most likely feeding on the birds that would usually be hunting arachnids. These Iran-native snakes have not had their venom studied yet, but it would be fair and safe to assume that their venom is potent and dangerous to humans.

(Video of the viper luring with its tail)