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RE: Least deadly Vipers

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Posted by: Viktor at Wed Sep 28 04:28:53 2011  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Viktor ]  
   

It's been a while since your post, but I hope you're still interested. I mostly know about pit-vipers, so I'll stick to that (mostly). The thing that first got me thinking about this is Raymond L. Ditmars anecdote about an Eyelash Viper in a banana shipment. Basically the main points of the story are A) An Eyelash Viper (could have been a related species?)comes in in a banana shipment from South America. B) The importer gives the snake to his daughter as a pet/specimen. C) (and this is where my memory gets fuzzy, I'll have to find the text again) The importer and his daughter bring the snake to Ditmars (possibly for I.D.? Maybe it wasn't eating?) D) Ditmars acquires the snake after informing the importer of it's potentially dangerous nature. Is this story entirely true? I doubt it, but it could certainly be based on fact. Probably a lot longer than I needed to make it, but I hope I am getting my point across. Many species of arboreal vipers cannot inject or produce significant amounts of venom (at least for a viper), and are fairly mild mannered, however, they may co habitat closely with humans, or occupy disturbed habitat (farms, plantations, etc.). You also mentioned the Atropoides complex. As far as I know, they are only responsible for several (possibly as many as 20) human fatalities each year. Part of this is their extremely sedentary lifestyle. Another factor is their comparatively (to other related pit-vipers) non-virulent venom. I have not had opportunity to analyze their defensive strike, but you are probably aware of their feeding strike. To put it simply, they hit prey quickly with great power and don't let go. This could mean that they require time to work their venom into a human (or other predator). I'm sure someone more learned and experienced than I will be able to answer this. As far as Old-World Vipers, Habu would appear to be fairly innocuous serpents. They have a fairly mildly-virulent venom, although I cannot attest to the nature of their tempe


   

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