Venomous vipers and snakes

Vipera Aspis - Asp Viper

Conservation status: LEAST CONCERN

Vipera Aspis


Vipera Aspis, commonly named Asp Viper, is a venomous snake. It can be found in France, Andorra, northeastern Spain, extreme southwestern Germany in the southern Black Forest, Switzerland, the islands of Elba and Montecristo, Sicily, Italy, San Marino and northwestern Slovenia.

The species grows to an average total length of 60–65 centimetres (24–26 in). Males reach a maximum total length of 85 cm (33 in), females rarely more than 75 cm (30 in). The dorsal markings vary strongly, but only rarely take the form of a clear zigzag, as in V. berus.

This species has a few clearly defined and relatively specific habitat requirements. It needs warm areas that are exposed to the sun, structured vegetation and comparatively dry soils. In Italy and France, it is often found in areas with low mountains or hills, notably in limestone regions, but sometimes occurs in lower plains. It has a preference for vegetated areas or environments with at least some cover. Here it can be found on sunny slopes, on scrublands, in glades, in mountain meadows, forest clearings, at the borders of woods, in rubbish dumps and in stone quarries. In Italy, it occurs in mesic chestnut/oak woodlands and often near streams [1].


Venom. Asp viper is venomous snake. Bites from this species can be more severe than from the European adder, V. berus; not only can they be very painful, but also about 4% of all untreated bites are fatal. Lombardi and Bianco (1974) mention that this species is responsible for 90% of all cases of snakebite in Italy and it is the only mortal snake in Italian mountains. Envenomation symptoms include rapidly spreading acute pain, followed by edema and discoloration. Severe haemorrhagic necrosis may occur within a few hours. Vision may be severely impaired, most likely due to degradation of blood and blood vessels in the eyes. The venom has both coagulant and anticoagulant effects. The venom may also affect glomerular structure, which can lead to death due to renal failure [1].

There are antivenoms for this species produced in the Serbia, Croatia and France [2].

Conservation status

Conservation status. This species is classified as Least Concern (LC) according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is, however, listed as strictly protected (Appendix II) under the Berne Convention. In that case you must remeber that you as a human are also dangerous for this viper and hurting or killing it is not acceptable [1].

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Useful Links:

  1. Wikipedia: Vipera aspis
  2. WHO: Venomous Snakes Database


Data about Vipera aspis snake occurence is based on the information from Wikipedia page [1]. The data are divided into two indicators: [1] - risk region [0] - secure region. The data was created based on the maps and descriptions from the corresponding Wikipedia’s websites. (See data access and policies).

Data access and policies: The data is avaible on the webpage: [1]. This data may be shared and adapted for any purpose with appriopriate credit and on the same license as metadata. More information:

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