SUMMARY

  • VENOM: Very mild - no known danger

  • PREVALENCE: Common

  • ACTIVE PERIOD: Active during the day

  • KEY ID FEATURES: Wide range of coloration from grey brown to red to black, V shaped pattern on head which is somewhat triangular

  • BEHAVIOR: Largely terrestrial but will climb bushes, will move into 'S' position and bite defensively but prone to calm down over time

  • OTHER: Rear fanged and technically venomous but not known to be dangerous to humans

QUICK ASSESSMENT 0-10

GALLERY

IMPORTANT: Most snakes can be found to have significant variance in coloration and pattern even within the same species. There can also be extreme differences in appearance from juveniles to adults so it is important to never assume you have properly identified a snake.

DESCRIPTION

Wide range of coloration including tan body with grayish brown patterns and coloration, sometimes light tan in color but can also be rusty red or almost entirely black. Head usually displays a V pattern. Large eyes with roundish oblong pupils. Mock Vipers are largely terrestrial and have thin necks relative to their head, which is somewhat V shaped. Head can flatten slightly when defensive appearing similar to vipers. Faint white and tan spots on the body also can display orange speckles on upper third of the body on the lower sides, sometimes displaying lateral banding in light brown from mid to lower body extending to the tail. As a technically rear fanged snake they are mildly venomous but there are no known cases of serious envenomation or reactions in humans. Also, the ‘rear fanged’ label can be somewhat misleading as the fangs are located more towards the first third of the mouth.

BEHAVIOR

The Mock Viper is a daytime active, largely terrestrial snake and as such can often be found in leaf litter, though they are known to also climb small bushes and vegetation especially over watered areas where they have been observed to eat small frogs. They also commonly display initial aggressive behavior by positioning their front half into a defensive 'S' position. They will strike mostly with false bites and occasionally real hits, but their diminutive size renders any genuine bite relatively harmless. (Click the link if video block does not play: https://youtu.be/R3-LO2dzNMY)

HABITAT

Due to their tendency to hide in leaf litter Mock Vipers are generally found in forested areas, often close to some water source. They have also been observed hanging from branches over water possibly hunting for fish or amphibians. 

MISTAKEN IDENTITY

NO SNAKE SHOULD EVER BE HANDLED BY ANYONE BUT EXPERTS: The Mock Viper as its name indicates can appear in general like a viper species. It is possible to be confused with juvenile Mountain Pit Vipers or Pointed Scale Vipers and as a result Mock Vipers should be observed at a distance and never handled.