Cerastes vipera

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Cerastes vipera
Cerastes vipera.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Cerastes
Species: C. vipera
Binomial name
Cerastes vipera
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Cerastes vipera distribution.png

Cerastes vipera, common names Sahara sand viper and Avicenna viper,[3] is a venomous viper species endemic to the deserts of North Africa and the Sinai Peninsula. No subspecies are currently recognized.[4]


C. vipera, neonate.

Adults average 20–35 cm (8-14 inches) in total length (body + tail), with a maximum total length of 50 cm (1.6 ft). Females are larger than males.[3] Small and stout, it has a broad, triangular head with small eyes set well forward and situated on the junction of the side and the top of the head.

Common names[edit]

Common names include Sahara sand viper, Avicenna viper,[3] common sand viper,[5] Egyptian asp, Cleopatra's asp, sand viper,[6] Avicenna's sand viper, lesser cerastes.[7]

Geographic range[edit]

It is found in arid North Africa: Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Mali, Tunisia, Libya, Niger, Chad and Egypt. Sinai Peninsula: Egypt and Israel.

The type locality given is "Ægypto" (Egypt).[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/178210/0
  2. ^ a b McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  3. ^ a b c Mallow D, Ludwig D, Nilson G. 2003. True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Company. 359 pp. ISBN 0-89464-877-2.
  4. ^ "Cerastes vipera". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 30 July 2006. 
  5. ^ Gotch AF. 1986. Reptiles — Their Latin Names Explained. Poole, UK: Blandford Press. 176 pp. ISBN 0-7137-1704-1.
  6. ^ Brown JH. 1973. Toxicology and Pharmacology of Venoms from Poisonous Snakes. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas. 184 pp. LCCCN 73-229. ISBN 0-398-02808-7.
  7. ^ U.S. Navy. 1991. Poisonous Snakes of the World. United States Government Publication. New York: Dover Publications Inc. 203 pp. ISBN 0-486-26629-X.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger GA. 1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the...Viperidæ. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I.- XXV. (Cerastes vipera, pp. 503–504).
  • Joger, Uhlrich. 1984. The Venomous Snakes of the Near and Middle East. Beihefte zum Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients, A, 12. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag. 115 pp. ISBN 3882261994.
  • Linnaeus C. 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, diferentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio Decima, Reformata. Stockholm: L. Salvius. 824 pp. (Coluber vipera, p. 216).
  • Schnurrenberger, Hans. 1959. Observations on Behavior in Two Libyan Species of Viperine Snakes. Herpetologica 15 (2): 70-72. (Aspis vipera).
  • Subach, A, Scharf, I & Ovadia, O. 2009. Foraging behavior and predation success of the sand viper (Cerastes vipera). Canadian Journal of Zoology 87: 520-528. PDF

External links[edit]