Warning: Watching this Sahara sand viper do its wiggly thing with its undulating scales and still head will either mesmerize you or make your skin crawl. Please be advised.
Ever crawl into bed after a long, hard day of work and feel so euphoric from all that warm softness that you can’t help but kind of wiggle around in the glory that is lying in the supine position beneath some covers? It turns out that the Sahara sand viper, a foot-and-a-half-long venomous snake endemic to North Africa and the Sinai Peninsula, kind of likes to do the same thing. Although the ultimate purpose of its wiggling is a lot more dastardly.But forget that because doesn’t it look cute wiggling about in a bunch of sprinkles?!
Yes, just like Mogwai or these Tribble-looking caterpillars, the Sahara sand viper (Cerastes vipera), is simultaneously pretty cute and also super deadly. In the above clip, which was posted to Instagram by bearded animal enthusiast jdrrising, we see one of these vipers wiggling its body side to side in order to bury itself beneath a bunch of sprinkles. Out of context, the behavior seems strange, but there’s a very important reason sand vipers do this.
Shown in the video above is what the snake in the sprinkles thinks its doing: camouflaging itself beneath sand. The reason sand vipers execute this movement is to hide their bodies while leaving their eyes, which are on top of their heads, in the clear. They then wiggle their tails to attract prey and then lunge out from beneath the sand with a venomous bite when the time is right. And while it’s definitely an impressive showcase of camouflage, hunting skills, and wiggling, the Sahara sand viper still can’t hold a candle to the spider-tailed horned viper, which does unspeakable (yet fascinating) things to attract its victims.
What do you think about these Sahara sand snakes? What would you do if you reached into to scoop out some sprinkles at your local frozen yogurt shop and found one of these bad boys in there? Let us know in the comments below!
Images: Phoenix Zoo