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Venomous snakes classification

There are about 3200 species of snakes. Approximately 1300 species are venomous. Venomous snakes are usually defined as those which possess venom glands and specialized venom-conducting fangs, which enable then to inflict serious bites upon there victims. In general there are five families of venomous snakes recognized: the Colubridae, which possess small rear fangs; the front-fanged Elapidae and Hydrophidae; and the viper group, which consists of the Viperdae and Crotalidae. Venomous snakes are widespread throughout the world. However they do not occur in several islands, New Zealand, Ireland, Iceland, the Azores and Canaries.

Systematic classification of Venomous snakes in the world

Family

Species

Distribution

Characteristics

Elapidae

Kraits, Cobras, Mambas, Coral snakes

Americas, Africa, Asia, Australasia

Small head, short and fixed fangs.

Viperdae

Viper snakes

Europe, Africa, Asia

Large, flattened triangular head, large grooved fangs on the maxillary bone.

Crotalidae

Rattlesnakes

Americas, Parts of Southeast Asia, Southeast Europe

Similar to the family Viperdae, but they possess heat-sensitive pits on head

Colubridae

Tree snakes

In all parts of the world, except Australasia

Short grooved fangs at rear of upper jaws.

Hydrophidae

Sea snakes

Asia and Australasia

Nostrils dorsally on head, flattened tail.

From: Harris J.B. (1991) In: Snake toxins (Ed Harvey, A.L.)

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