Fun Levantine Viper Facts For Kids

Arpitha Rajendra
Jan 10, 2023 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Read more fun Levantine viper facts here.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.8 Min

The Levantine viper (Macrovipera lebetina), also called the Lebetine viper, blunt-nosed viper, and mountain viper is a large snake of the family Viperidae. They are also called kontonoura which is a Greek Cypriot dialect for 'short-tailed'. The body of this snake can be beige, brown, khaki, gray, pink, or olive-colored with a dark distinct pattern if present. This snake, along with their subspecies, is currently under review. Some subspecies might be elevated to the status of valid species. Mertens and Muller restricted the nominate subspecies to Cyprus in 1928 and are not found in the Levant region in Western Asia. The original type locality was given as Oriente. There are five recognized subspecies of the Levantine viper. There are three described venomous vipers in the genus Macrovipera. These vipers have a bad reputation as they are ill-tempered and can inject a large amount of venom. They also prefer arid habitats. These vipers belong to the family Viperidae and subfamily Viperinae. There are 13 genera with 93 species within Viperinae.

If you liked reading these fun facts about Levantine vipers, then you can check out some more fun snake facts about the scarlet snake and anaconda snake.

Levantine Viper Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Levantine viper?

The Levantine viper (Macrovipera lebetina) or blunt-nosed viper is a large venomous snake of the order Squamata and phylum Chordata. There are currently five subspecies including this nominate snake that belong to the blunt-nose viper. These subspecies are M. l. cernovi, M. l. lebetina (Cypriot blunt-nosed viper-nominate species), M. l. obtusa (Levant blunt-nosed viper), M. l. transmediterranea, and M. l. turanica (Turan blunt-nosed viper).

The Levantine viper bite and venom can cause major illness often leading to the victim's death. They are active in the spring season and they mostly emerge during the day. On hot days, they are active in the morning, evening, dusk, and the first half of the night when it is cooler. This snake moves down to wetlands and springs from mountains in May. Also, clusters of snakes move into their own hunting areas and then retreat to their hibernating winter grounds. After hibernation, these vipers remain together for two weeks. They can be occasionally aggressive at night. Also, the venom of this snake is of major importance in the medical field.

What class of animal does a Levantine viper belong to?

The Levantine viper (Macrovipera lebetina) belongs to the class of Reptilia of animals.

How many Levantine vipers are there in the world?

The distribution number of Levantine viper (Macrovipera lebetina) in the world is not known but the snake populations are common throughout their natural habitat, according to IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Where does a Levantine viper live?

The distribution of blunt-nosed viper (Macrovipera lebetina) snakes is around North Africa, major regions in the Middle East, and extends to Kashmir. This venomous snake occupies a habitat range around Cyprus,  Tunisia, Algeria, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Isreal, Armenia, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Russian Caucasia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, including Kashmir in India. The presence of these snakes was reported by Scortecci in Yemen.

The subspecies M. l. cernovi is found in countries like southern Turkmenistan, northeastern Iran, and parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The M. l. obtusa  (Levant blunt-nosed viper) is found in countries extending from central Turkey to Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, including the Caucasus region, Pakistan, northern Jordan, southern Afghanistan, and Kashmir. The M. l. transmediterranea is found in North Africa and is restricted to the coastal mountains of Tunis and Algeria. The M. l. turanica (Turan blunt-nosed viper) is found in southwestern Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

What is a Levantine viper's habitat?

The range of the Levantine viper habitat extends to habitat regions with short trees with thick shade, mountain regions, wetlands, caves, rocky canyons, ravines, and cavities. This snake hibernates in March or mid-April in caves and deep cracks on steep slopes and in ravines, cavities, or rocky canyons.

Who do Levantine vipers live with?

The blunt-nosed viper (Macrovipera lebetina) lives in clusters or on their own.

How long does a Levantine viper live?

The blunt-nosed viper (Macrovipera lebetina) lives up to 13 years.

How do they reproduce?

The Macrovipera lebetina breeding season is around April and early June. The males come out of hibernation when the air temperature is at least 50 F (10 C) and after a week the females emerge. The females lay around 8-25 eggs and the clutch size can also be up to 43 eggs. The incubation period is around 25-50 days.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Macrovipera lebetina snakes is evaluated as Least Concern. This snake species is quite common throughout their range, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, the population is decreasing due to the overcollection of this species for their venom, habitat loss, and heavy persecution.

Levantine Viper Fun Facts

What do Levantine vipers look like?

Macrovipera lebetina snakes or the blunt-nosed viper species are named this based on their description. They have a blunt snout that looks round from the top. They are quite large snakes and the size varies among the subspecies. They have a distinct triangular and broad head separated by their neck.  The head usually has a uniform color, however, there is occasionally a dark V-shape. The nasorostral and nasal scales are fused completely into a single plate. They have strongly keeled dorsal scales, excluding the scales bordering their ventrals. There are 146-163 ventral scales on the subspecies M. l. lebetina. They have a single anal scale. The color pattern does not vary a lot and the ground color of their body is beige, brown, khaki, gray, pink, or olive. The pattern color can be rust, blue, gray, or brown with a double row or middorsal row of large spots. If there are two rows, the spots may alternate, leading to a continuous or saddled zigzag pattern. The spots are black, dark gray or brown and also brick, olive, yellow or red-colored. The M. l. transmediterranea subspecies has a more fragmented head.

These vipers have a bad reputation

How cute are they?

These vipes like any other snakes are not considered cute. Although their bodies are covered in various color ranges with color patterns, they are still snakes that can harm you with their venom.

How do they communicate?

These vipers communicate through hissing, visuals, and body language.

How big is a Levantine viper?

This deadly poisonous species is quite large. They reach a length of 59.1 in (150 cm). Their snout-vent length is around 4 in (103-104 mm) and their tail length is around 5.3-5.6 in (135-143 mm). New juveniles measure around 9.8-11 in (25-28 cm) long. These snakes are almost twice the length of European vipers.

How fast can a Levantine viper move?

The speed of these vipers is not known.

How much does a Levantine viper weigh?

These snakes weigh around 5.9 lb (2.7 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given to female and male blunt-nosed vipers.

What would you call a baby Levantine viper?

There is no particular term for a juvenile Levantine viper. They are commonly referred to as snakelets.

What do they eat?

The diet of this viper consists of small mammals like rodents such as mice and rats, lizards, snakes, frogs, and chicks. Juveniles may sometimes feed on insects. Russel's vipers have a similar diet consisting of scorpions, land crabs, rodents, and small animals.

Are they poisonous?

This species is not poisonous but these snakes are venomous. The bite of this species can produce hemotoxic reactions like swelling, tissue damage, and pain.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these creatures would not make good pets because they are venomous.

Did you know...

Some other common names of this viper are the Levant viper, Levantine adder, coffin snake, gunas in Kashmir, and kufi viper in Arabic.

The other two related species of this genus along with Levantine vipers have bitten several people in Western Asia and Africa.

Why are they called Levantine vipers?

Other common names of this species refer to their description and appearance such as round snout or short-tail. The name Levantine refers to their geographic location because this species is native to the Levant region, currently extending from the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, to the north of the Arabian peninsula, and to southern parts of Turkey.

Are Levantine vipers endangered?

The conservation status of this snake is currently listed as Least Concern, however, they are under threat due to the demand for their venom, habitat loss, and heavy persecution. They are strictly protected under the Berne Convention.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our common garter snake facts and sea snake fact for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring on one of our free printable viper coloring pages.

Levantine Viper Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small mammals, rodents, lizards, insects, snakes, and chicks

What Type of Animal were they?

Carnivore

Average Litter Size?

8-25 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

5.9 lb (2.7 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

short trees with thick shade, mountain regions, wetlands, caves, rocky canyons, ravines, and cavities

Where Do They Live?

North Africa, the middle east, and east india

How Long Were They?

59.1 in (150 cm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Reptilia

Genus

Macrovipera

Family

Viperidae

Scientific Name

Macrovipera lebetina

What Do They Look Like?

Beige, brown, khaki, gray, pink, or olive

Skin Type

Scales

What Are Their Main Threats?

humans

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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