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 Asp viper  (Vipera aspis)



The European asp (Vipera aspis), one of approximately 60 species of vipers, ranges throughout the Mediterranean region of Europe but can be found as far north as Sweden. This moderately sized viper is characterized by a broadly triangular head covered by small scales and a vertically shaped pupil. When threatened the European asp will exhibit a hissing behavior accompanied by rapid, forward jerks of the head. The venom of this snake contains only a hemotoxin which affects the blood vessels and associated tissues and causes death by stopping the heart.

Asp, common name for a venomous snake of the cobra family. Also called the Egyptian cobra, it is found throughout Africa. The asp was worshipped in ancient Egypt and was used as the symbol on the crown of the pharaohs. The Egyptian queen Cleopatra is believed to have killed herself with an asp. Other venomous snakes also known as asps include the European asp, or asp viper, and the horned sand viper. See Cobra; Viper. Scientific classification: The asp belongs to the family Elapidae and is classified as Naja haje. The European asp, classified as Vipera aspis, and the horned sand viper, classified as Cerastes cornuta, belong to the family Viperidae.



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