Ocellate Mountain Viper
|Geographical Range||Eastern Turkey, northwestern Iran|
|Habitat||Rocky, grassy country in mountain areas|
|Scientific Name||Montivipera wagneri|
This mountain-dweller occupies dry, warm slopes where temperatures fall at night. It's usually only active during the day. Its pattern of orangish-brown spots helps the snake blend in with its surroundings.
This rare snake was thought to be extinct for nearly 140 years but then was "re-discovered" in eastern Turkey in 1983. Once the word got out, the news led to severe over-collecting by European and Turkish snake collectors. This is a serious threat for the future survival of the species, which has already been wiped out in much of its very small range. The Saint Louis Zoo participates in a Species Survival Plan with other North American zoos to breed and conserve this species (see side story).
Did You Know?
This snake is venomous.