Classical textbooks state that the characteristic coloration of the common viper (vipera, berus) is a general gray background with a dark zigzag pattern on the back. This is not entirely true. For a long time, our team has captured hundreds of snakes for medical purposes every year. During this time, we examined more than 8,000 specimens of vipers from different regions. We met snakes of the most diverse colors: less than half (43%) were gray with darkish patterns on the back. Here are the rest of the color options for the coloring of the common viper:
- brown with red pattern
- brown with red pattern
- red with red pattern
- cherry red with brown pattern,
- red with a red pattern.
In places with a cooler climate, black snakes were more common (52%), in the western regions - brown, red and red (70%), in the central regions - gray (72%). In the wombs of females that were brown, black, red and red, we found young vipers of only one color: pink-gray with a dark pattern on the back. They retain this coloration the first and second year of life. The common viper is distributed throughout the forest and forest-steppe zone of the former Soviet Union. The steppe viper is found in the steppe zone. It is colored a little differently.
Reminder of behavior when meeting with a snake
You need quite a bit of attention and elementary caution in order to avoid the bite of a viper in the most “serpentine places”. If you encounter a snake, avoid it and it won't harm you. If you are still bitten by a viper, then at first you should not panic. One of the most important actions is to suck out the poison from the wound. Suction for a long time, at least 25 minutes. Squeeze the poison out of the wound with your teeth and at the same time suck it out, often spitting saliva. Allegations that poison can get into damaged teeth are without any basis. Of course, you can not suck out the poison to someone who has cracks or wounds on his lips. And one more rule: never pull the bitten place: this only enhances the effect of the poison.
The catchers of our brigade were bitten by vipers more than once. If the catcher sucked out the poison immediately after the bite, then, as a rule, there were almost no consequences, except for a small swelling around the bitten place. Usually the catcher did not even stop hunting.
Vipers are very useful and necessary animals for people. They eat most of the forest mice and voles - pests of the forest and carriers of various diseases. Viper venom has remarkable properties and is widely used for the preparation of medicines. Recent studies have shown that substances that rapidly clot blood can be isolated from viper venom and used to stop bleeding in humans. Vipers deserve careful protection from wanton destruction, don't kill them.