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[Animals] What is the difference between a snake, a viper and a snake?


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Diferencia entre serpiente y víbora

Although the terms serpent, viper, and snake seem to mean the same thing, there is a difference to be aware of. Here we give you the details.
Outside of taxonomic rigor, it is common for the terms snake, viper and snake to be used as synonyms that refer to the same type of animal, without contemplating any difference. Diego Gutiérrez Ascención, a specialist in herpetofauna at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), comments that, depending on certain geographical areas, the aforementioned lack of distinction is more common. However, from a biological formality, there are distinctions between the mentioned ways of calling these reptiles.

The difference between snake, viper and snake
The first thing to establish the difference between snake, viper and snake is to understand the biological place that the first occupies. In this sense, snakes are a suborder of reptiles that are characterized by being vertebrates and by the absence of limbs. There are 4 thousand species of these animals.

Diferencia entre serpiente y víbora

Other features that help define snakes or snakes, according to Diego Gutiérrez Ascención, are the following:

the scales
Embryonic development from egg
The absence of eyelids
The change of skin
Temperature dependency for metabolic activity
Adaptation to various ecosystems (jungles, deserts, forests, etc.)
The snakes, then, correspond to a higher order, from which several families or taxonomic groups emerge, among which are the Viperidae and the Colubridae (vipers and snakes, correspondingly). In other words: vipers, snakes and other snakes are under the term snake.

Vipers make up the Viperidae family and are distinguished from other snakes by always being poisonous. They are organisms that possess a solenoglyphic dentition, which refers to the position and shape of their venom inoculating fangs. Currently, there is a record of 329 species.

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Although it is not exclusive to vipers, the keeled scales are one of the aspects that most help to distinguish these reptiles. The same happens with vertical pupils; there are other snakes that have them, but they are usually more common among most species of this family.

Diferencia entre serpiente y víbora

Due to the prominence of the venom glands, the viper's head is triangular in shape. On the other hand, the body of these beings tends to be more bulky towards the middle zone. Diego Gutiérrez Ascención adds one more detail about these snakes. According to the specialist, these animals do not exist in Oceania.

Snakes represent the Colubridae family. In this group, much more numerous than the previous one, there are approximately 1,800 species. The physical constitution of these reptiles, compared to that of vipers, is uniform, since it does not have that slight bulge in the middle part. By the way, the head usually has a diameter very similar to that of the rest of the body.

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Despite the above, Diego Gutiérrez Ascención comments that nocturnal snakes come to represent the exception to the rule. This is reflected in the possibility of finding species with triangular heads or vertical pupils, traits generally associated with vipers.

Diferencia entre serpiente y víbora

Most snakes have smooth scales, although there are exceptions. As for poison, it should not be assumed that members of this group lack it. However, there are many species that are not poisonous.

Precisely, related to the latter, comes the issue of teething. There are aglyphous snakes, this is the absence of poison inoculating members. But, there are also species whose poisonous fang is all the way to the bottom of the upper jaw. This is known as opisthoglyphic dentition.

In summary…
The difference between snake, viper and snake is that the first term refers to the entire order, the other two are families, taxonomically different from each other, that emerge from this division of reptiles.


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