Italian viper, knowing how to recognize it is useful if not necessary, the fatal bite is not frequent but it is certainly not pleasant in any case. Getting to know this snake of our house better with a triangular and pointed head, a squat body and a short and tapered tail, will allow us to enjoy our walks in the green more.
Some scientific information will thus be able to dispel urban legends such as the one that tells of vipers thrown from helicopters to repopulate wooded areas. Absurd, yes, but there Italian viper thanks to this belief it is in the title of one of Paolo Toselli's volumes: “The famous invasion of flying vipers and other metropolitan legends of Italy today ".
Italian viper: how to recognize it
The differences between the Italian viper and other less insidious species, those most evident to us Sunday walkers, or at least not experts in the study of reptiles, are in the shape of the head and tail. The viper has a triangular head and a sharply tapering tail, the others there oval head and the tail gradually shrinking.
They even look one in the eye Italian viper we can understand if it is one Italian viper. It is if it has vertical pupils, similar to those of cats, if they are round, we are fidgeting for nothing. With their bodies less than 80 cm in length, these vipers usually position themselves creating an "S", preferring well sunny areas rich in vegetation, then they flee slowly, without being noticed.
There Italian viper belongs to the family of Viperids and from Genus Viper and we don't like it very much because it has a gland, in the lateral area of the head, that produces poison that contains a lot of water, of course, but also highly toxic albumin and other enzymatic proteins.
These are substances that interact with tissues, disrupt blood clotting and, at times, act on the nervous system. To inject the poison this animal is specially equipped with movable fangs which, when it opens its mouth, form a 90 ° angle with the jaw. When it bites, they penetrate our skin.
Italian viper: video
If we have begun to get an idea of the appearance and movements of the Italian viper, here is a video with useful information and images that I would like not to see live, just because I don't care about a tete à tete with aItalian viper.
Click here to watch the video.
Italian viper: where it is found
Even if its bite is fatal only in very rare cases, it is better to locate it Italian viper. In Italy there are 4 species and not all are distributed in the same area. There Vipera aspis it prefers the Alps and the Apennines, looks for warm and dry places and can be considered one of the most peaceful and rather than attacking, it runs away if harassed. More dangerous is the Vipera berus also called marsh adder, widespread in the mountains of Northern Italy, near water or even in water.
Rather known and recognizable is the Vipera Ammodytes more commonly called Horn viper. It lives in the North East, we can meet it if we walk in the Dolomites, for example, and we almost certainly recognize it for its little horn on the tip of its snout. There is no need to be scared with this type of Italian viper because it is not very aggressive, but its venom is the most dangerous among the species present in Italy. The last Italian viper, the smallest and least dangerous is that of the Orsini, located in the Abruzzese and Umbrian-Marchigiano Apennines, especially on the Gran Sasso.
Italian viper: photo
In general, the Italian Viper inhabits plain areas up to over 2500 m of altitude and this thanks to the fact that it is an ovoviviparous animal. This means that it keeps its eggs in the belly until they hatch, so it is enough for the mother to stay in the sun to ensure a little warmth for the future. Italian viper still in egg. As for the mating phase, females allow themselves every two years, between April and May, then the births arrive in the period from August to the end of September. When the egg has just hatched, 15-20 cm vipers sprout.
Italian viper: first aid
While we await the arrival of the ambulance, to be called in case of a bite Italian viper, there are some tricks that it is useful to know and apply so that everything goes well. Always assuming that it is very rarely lethal. First of all, it is better to calm the bitten person, taking care not to make him move but to leave him supine, monitoring vital functions.
Called 118, we can wash the bite with a physiological solution and disinfect the bite with hydrogen peroxide and then proceed with a bandage by immobilizing the limb with a splint. Obviously if it is not a limb but the Italian viper hit on the trunk, neck or head a stiff tampon should be applied. While help arrives, the bitten person is best covered, so that he stays warm, and we also make sure he does not go into shock.
There are things not to do in case of a bite Italian viper: do not hack, do not suck the poison, do not apply the tourniquet, for example. Nor to administer del anti-viper serum like not even putting ice on the bitten area which can actually worsen the situation by causing necrosis.
Well prepare for the bites of Italian viper, even superstitiously, but better still make sure that they become as less likely as possible. So let's wear high shoes or heavy wool socks and make sure we walk with cadenced and heavy step, better if beating herbs and stones with a stick.
Wherever we are, we limit our curiosity as young marmots and we don't collect everything from the ground or even put our hands under rocks, stones or in cracks in the ground. Before sitting down to rest, which is legitimate, let's look where we are going to lean, avoiding trunks covered with leaves, haystacks and bundles of wood.
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