Order Squamata, Families Elapidea/Viperidae

Graduation Requirements
Science
Equipment/Materials Needed

No special equipment or materials are required

cobra
Description

The two major families of venomous snakes are Elapidae, or the elapid snakes, and Viperidae, the vipers, and pitvipers. The snakes in these families are similar in that they have fangs in the front of the mouth. ... The venom of elapids is quite different.

Badge Completion Requirements

Elapidea/Viperidae

The two major families of venomous snakes are Elapidae, or the elapid snakes, and Viperidae, the vipers, and pitvipers. The snakes in these families are similar in that they have fangs in the front of the mouth. ... The venom of elapids is quite different.

Elapidea

Kraits, Cobras, Mambas, Taipans and Sea Snakes are common members of the Elapidea

 

Elapidae venoms that generally contain neurotoxins that disable muscle contraction and cause paralysis. Death from elapid bites usually results from asphyxiation because the diaphragm can no longer contract. 

Most are long slender snakes with smooth scales. All are egg layers (oviparous). This group tends to be active hunters instead of ambushers. The fangs are usually below the front edge of the eye and are angled backward; due to this construction, most elapids must actually bite in order to envenomate. This action is therefore not as quick as with the Viperideas, that can envenomate with only a quick, stabbing motion. Fangs are generally short, given that they cannot fold back as with Viperids. 

 

Viperidea

Adders and Pit Vipers are the common members of the Viperidea

Most all vipers have keeled scales, a stocky build with a short tail, and, due to the location of the venom glands, a triangular-shaped head distinct from the neck. Their eyes have vertically elliptical, or slit-shaped, pupils that can open wide to cover most of the eye or close almost completely, which helps them to see in a wide range of light levels.

The fangs of the Viperidae family rotate to fold back into the mouth when not in use.

Viperidea venoms typically contain an abundance of protein-degrading enzymes, called proteases, that produce symptoms such as pain, strong local swelling and necrosis, blood loss from cardiovascular damage complicated by coagulopathy, and disruption of the blood clotting system. Death is usually caused by a collapse in blood pressure.

Prompts

Compare and contrast the type of venom difference between the snake families

Discuss the advantages of live-born instead of eggs

Explain the function of the "pit" for the pit viper

What is the most venomous snake in the world?

Which is the most deadly snake for humans?

Explain the difference between the most venomous and most deadly

Contact a local zoo to investigate the procedure and protocol they use housing venomous snakes

NEVER ATTEMPT TO CAPTURE OR HANDLED A VENOMOUS SNAKE

Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your understanding of Elapidea. Please include the above "prompts" in your presentation