The Spider Tailed Horned Viper Is A Creature That’s As Terrifying As Its Name Implies
The spider tailed horned viper has a tail that looks – and moves – exactly like a spider. So beyond looking like an alligator-alien, and eating sweet, adorable little birdies, it also embodies two of the scariest animals known to humans: snakes and spiders.
Using its spider-esque tail, the spider tailed horned viper lures innocent birds to just the right spot, and then surprises the daylights out of them and eats them alive.
Friend, creepy doesn’t even begin to describe this snake, and its variety of adaptations that make it both brilliant and downright bone-chilling.
What’s Up With The ‘Spider Tail’ Anyways?
The tail of the spider tailed horned viper resembles a spider so much, I was genuinely fooled when I watched the video above. I thought it had a bug crawling on its body. How incredible is that?
This species, endemic to western Iran, was first discovered back in 1968. In fact, when scientists first got their hands on this incredible snake, they thought that its tail was actually a spider. It happens to look very much like the camel spider which was native to the exact area where they found the snake.
When they realized that the spider was, in fact, attached to the tail of the spider tailed horned viper, the next thought was that it was some kind of a growth or mutation. It wasn’t until 2006 that scientists were able to analyze a live specimen, conclude that the tail is a hunting tool, and declare it a new species.
Bird-Hunting Snakes? Yep, Why Not.
Once researchers had a classification, they decided to test a theory. A biologist by the name of Behzad Fathinia from Razi University in Iran hypothesized that the tail was there to lure in prey. He caught a live specimen, placed it in an enclosed space with a baby bird, and sat back to watch. Poor bird.
The tail started moving around exactly like a spider. The chick, of course, was hungry and pecked at it. This was the last peck the chick ever pecked. The viper then pulled the tail towards itself, lashed out, and chomped the chick in half a second flat.
In even more scary news, the spider tailed horned viper can snatch birds right out of the air. Chicks are apparently easy prey, and no challenge at all for this devious, sinister reptile.
Where Are These Nightmare Snakes Found?
These scary yet fascinating snakes are found in western Iran in the Zagros Mountains. The rough scales of the snake’s body blend right tin with the gypsum and limestone in the area that also touches into Turkey and Kurdistan.
The snake, however, has only been found in western Iran.
Is The Spider Tailed Horned Viper Dangerous To Humans?
The spider tailed horned viper is venemous, and will strike when threatened. However, the snake won’t be aggressive towards people unless they put in a corner with no other choice.
So basically, you wouldn’t want to mess with it, but you don’t need to worry about it following and eating you if you happen to be hiking in the mountains of western Iran.