Have you ever heard about the spider-tailed horned viper? This species of snake is endemic to the deserts of western Iran and Iraq. This is the kind of place where you expect to find serpents. But this one is a little bit different from most of its «cousins». What makes this viper so special?
The answer is the shape of its tail and how this snake uses it to hunt its prey. As you can see in the picture, at the end of its tail there is a bulb-like end that is bordered by long dropping scales that give the appearance of a spider.
How this viper uses its strange tail to hunt? The colour and the form of the viper’s skin is perfect for camouflage in rocky desserts like the ones in Iran.
So, what this snake does to hunt is to stay completely still so it cannot be detected by its prey, and then waves the tail tip that looks like a little spider, so in the eyes of the birds and other small animals, looks like an arachnid moving close to a rock. These small birds that see the «spider», thinking that they have found an easy meal, come within the striking range of the viper. And guess what? THEY are the easy meal.
Sometimes nature can give us important lessons for our daily life. And what I’ve learnt from this interesting creature is that sometimes what looks like a great opportunity can be a great danger if we don’t check what is behind the surface. Don’t be a hungry bird and always double-check who you trust in your daily life or when you surf on the internet because the world is full of «spider-tailed vipers»!
What are the meanings of these words: viper, bulb, and arachnid?
How does the spider-tailed viper lure its prey?
What lesson can we learn from this snake?