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).
The Zoo's WildCare Institute Center for Conservation in Western Asia is helping vipers in the wild.
Did You Know?
This snake is venomous.