Meet the Spider-Tailed Horned Viper, a specie that lives in Western Iran that uses its tail that has the shape of a spider designed to lure its prey!
Snakes and spiders are quite scary per se but what if they were combined into one creature? Would you dare imagine one?This time you would! The Spider-Tailed Horned Viper is a reptile that combines both of your worst crawling animals.
(Seems like a genetically-modified monster conceived by a mad scientist.)
As if snakes weren’t scary enough on their own, some apparently have spiders for tails to raise the horror factor to infinity. The aptly named ‘spider-tailed viper’ has a bizarre arachnid-shaped appendage that it uses to attract unsuspecting prey.
Boy, THIS IS MAD.
According to Science writer Ed Yong, the fearsome snake was formally described only 9 years ago, in Iran. Its existence has been known since the sixties but because only one specimen had been spotted, its tail was dismissed as a deformity. However, further investigations in the area revealed the tail was actually a defining characteristic of a whole new species of snakes.
The tail is bizarre! There’s a large orange or grey bulb at the tip, and the scales just before that are bizarrely long and thin. Together, these features look a bit like the legs and abdomen of a spider or their close relatives. If you watch a video of the viper shaking its tail rapidly, it looks exactly like a moving spider,” Yong wrote on his National Geographic blog.
By resembling a tasty morsel, it draws potential prey into the snake’s striking range.
The theory was tested by placing a chicken in the snake’s enclosure. As expected, the chick was attracted by the knob-like structure which it mistook for a delicious insect. As it went towards the tail and pecked it, the snake pulled the tail towards itself, and bit the bird in less than half a second. The experiment was repeated with a sparrow and yielded the same result.
The tail itself doesn’t seem venomous or capable of inflicting any harm, so it’s most likely an evolutionary development designed purely to LURE prey.
Watch the FASCINATING, NIGTHMARE-ISH creature in the video below.