How to Differentiate Snakes From Vipers?

In this post, we will try to explain how to differentiate a snake from a viper.

Not so easy, reptiles are so fast that when they pass us they panic and sometimes with reflexes that put us in danger.

While the viper is venomous, the snake is a harmless reptile (some are venomous but not dangerous to humans).

Here are a few tips to help us walk around with peace of mind.

Living Environment :

The snake is a reptile that lives more commonly near bodies of water where frogs proliferate (source of food for them). The vipers when a they are located in dry places.

Daily Habits :

The snake likes to “lay low in the sun”, it can stay for hours in the sun while the viper prefers cooler and goes out mainly in the early morning or early evening.

Vipers flee from danger, they do not attack humans, they only bite last.

Read more: What Animals Can Keep Snakes Away?

Here are a few tips to help us walk around with peace of mind.

Pupil Shape:

The snake has round pupils like a dog while the viper has the pupil of the eye vertical like a slit like a cat.


On the upper part of its head the snake has fairly large scales that give it a “battleship” look whereas the viper has very small scales all over its body.

The Body:

The viper is stocky and small: maximum 80cm.

The snake has a long body and can measure up to 2 meters. But beware, depending on age, sex, the difference can be nil.

The head:

A viper has a rather triangular and flat head shape whereas the snake has a rather oval head. Beware, this difference is inconclusive. Better the ones on top.

Beware, a few common sense notions for information:

Remember not to lift rocks, reptiles like to hide.

Think of taking with you at the time of your walks, high shoes (hiking shoes preferably, for your comfort), a stick which will be used to vibrate the ground to warn of your presence (do not catch them with, hit them or make them wrap around your stick), continue your way, walk quietly.

If you meet a reptile, don’t panic, don’t pick it up… just leave it alone. A snake, especially snakes, can, in case of stress, stay on its back and play dead with its mouth open, smell like decomposition, be careful, it may not be dead; it just wants you to continue on your way and even if it is dead, avoid picking it up.

There are no regions really attracted to such and such spaces, a little bit everywhere in the world, we find these 2 reptiles. So make good hikes and stay careful!