Horned Viper

Horned vipers are a species that have adapted to live in deserts. They possess two horns on top of their eyes. However, hornless individuals of this species also exist. These snakes are poisonous with a high venom yield.

Scientific Classifications

  • Suborder:Serpentes
  • Family:Viperidae
  • Genus:Cerastes
  • Species:C. cerastes

Conservation Status

Not EvaluatedNE

Not Evaluated

Data DeficientDD

Data Deficient

Least ConcernLC

Least Concern

Near ThreatenedNT

Near Threatened





Critically EndangeredCR

Critically Endangered

Extinct in the wildEW

Extinct in the wild




The horned viper has three subspecies:

  • Algerian Horned Viper (Cerastes ceraste mutila)
  • Egyptian Horned Viper (Cerastes ceraste karlhartli)
  • Cerastes ceraste hoofieni


Desert Horned Viper


The average length of these vipers is 24 inches (60 cm).

Color and Appearance

These snakes can be pale grey, yellowish, reddish, pinkish, or pale brown ground color, depending on the substrate color of their location. Their most distinguishing feature is a pair of horns above the eyes. The upper side of the body is filled with a series of semi-rectangular, dark blotches, which may or may not be combined to form crossbars. They have a white belly and a thin tail. 

Are They Dangerous to Humans 

Horned Viper Snake

Horned vipers are venomous with an LD50 value of 0.4 mg/kg intravenously and 3.0 mg/kg subcutaneously. It can yield 19 – 100 mg of dried venom. 

A bite of this viper can cause symptoms like hemorrhage, necrosis, swelling, vomiting, nausea, and haematuria. 

Horned Viper at a Glance


Horned vipers are found in the arid regions of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Cerastes cerastes


These snakes inhabit dry, sandy areas with sparse rock outcroppings, avoiding coarse sand. They can also be found near oases.


The horned viper can live up to 14 years in captivity, and its lifespan in the wild is unknown.


The predators of horned vipers are Nile monitors, honey badgers, and various feral wild cats.

Horned Viper Image


Their primary diet consists of lizards, but they occasionally eat rodents and birds.


Horned vipers are egg-laying species. They can lay 8-23 eggs that hatch after an incubation period of 50 – 80 days. Juveniles gain reproductive maturity at the age of two years.

Care Sheet

Size of Enclosure: Horned vipers require a 2.6 X 1.3 X 1.0 feet terrarium.

Horned Viper Picture

Substrate: These vipers are from desert regions. So the substrate required to keep them in an enclosure would be a mix of sand and soil, good dry soil, and bark and wood chips.

Humidity: These vipers require a medium humidity level. The humidity of their terrarium is mainly kept at 50-60% and seldom up to 70%.

Temperature: They can be kept at a room temperature of 20 – 30⁰ C.

Lighting: These snakes need a heating device in their enclosure to keep them heated. Reptile heating lanterns or some other accessories should be installed in their terrarium.

Feeding: In confinement, these vipers are fed small vermin and dead rodents.


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