The efa snake is a representative of the viper family. It is one of the 10 most venomous snakes in the world. And it is also the only representative of the species that inhabited the territory of the former USSR. A distinctive feature of the efa is its speed and aggressiveness, courage. She can easily attack a much larger opponent. Also, the snake has an extraordinary appearance and a way of life unusual for other reptiles.
Origin of the species and description
Efa is a representative of the viper family, but even among these snakes it is the most dangerous and poisonous. It lives mainly in desert desert areas. The genus is often referred to in more detail as the Sand Efs. This includes a total of 9 types. They practically do not differ from each other, but still there are some features.
The most common: Central Asian and motley. It is believed that the Central Asian efa was the very first representative of the genus. By the way, it is the largest. But the motley is most often found in the deserts of Africa, preferring the northern part of the continent.
Video: Efa snake
This kind in Egypt is rather widespread. Although the motley is adapted for life even with a heat of 50 degrees, she still prefers to get out hunting at night in such harsh conditions. In the West, the efu was not previously distinguished as a separate species at all, calling the Carpet (Scaly) Viper.
An interesting fact: the efa can slightly change its color, depending on the habitat.
The average life expectancy of representatives of this species in natural conditions is 10-12 years. Efa is one of the most dangerous snakes. According to statistics, every 6 people bitten by efa die. Also, if we take the statistics of human deaths from snake bites, then bitten efa accounts for 1 out of 7.
Appearance and features
Efa – These are relatively small-sized reptiles. Usually the length of the snake does not exceed 60 cm, but in rare cases you can meet representatives up to 75 cm. Males are almost always slightly larger than females.
Since efa spends more time in desert areas, this leaves an imprint on her appearance. Everyone knows that often representatives of the animal world have a color that will help them hide, merge with the outside world. That is why the color of the efa is dominated by light tones, slightly with a golden tint.
The snake also has a number of characteristic external features:
- zigzag stripes form a pattern on the sides;
- white or light gray spots adorn the back and head. By the way, their shade depends on the area in which the snake lives;
- the belly is mostly yellow. But small brown spots can also be traced on it, which eventually form characteristic stripes-patterns;
- on the head, some even manage to notice a cross pattern if you look at the snake clearly from above.
All these features of appearance help the efe to easily go unnoticed in natural conditions, both for its potential prey and for enemies. The entire body of the snake is covered with scales. On the back, they have quite obvious ribs that protrude significantly. On the sides they are arranged in 4-5 rows, directed at an angle down. Here, their ribs already have a serrated structure.
But in the undertail zone, the arrangement of scales is longitudinal. Here they are in 1 row. A special position of the scales is required by all reptiles for the sole purpose of regulating body temperature. For the inhabitants of such a harsh hot climate, this is especially important.
Interesting fact: A feature of the species is an interesting way of movement. Efa moves sideways. At the very beginning, the head is rapidly thrown forward, after which the snake carries it sideways, then throwing the back of the body forward. In the end, the whole body is tightened. Because of this, bizarre stripes remain on the sand, forming a specific pattern.
Where does the efa snake live?
Efas prefer a dry and very hot climate. It is for this reason that a lot of them live in the deserts of Africa. Indonesia and South Asia are also inhabited by these snakes, but not as densely. By the way, they are also found in small quantities in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. A separate species lives here – the Central Asian efa. This is the only representative of this genus of snakes that was found on the territory of the USSR.
In this case, in any case, you need to be careful. Even a small population of such snakes poses a particular danger to humans. It is worth paying attention to the fact that the efa rarely stays in one place for a long time. She prefers to be in motion as much as possible, constantly migrating. There are no special periods of migration for the species, since they move all year round.
Efas are extremely unpretentious to the climate and therefore can continue to live actively at temperatures up to 50 degrees with a plus sign. Even a significant drop in temperature will not make them hibernate or stay in one place for a significantly longer time. At the same time, not only deserts have chosen efas. They also like the steppe area with dense thickets.
Some members of the ef family prefer mountainous terrain or rocky plains. Since the efa is very tiny, it will not be difficult for her to penetrate even a small crevice in order to settle in a secluded place. But still, as statistics show, Efa most often prefers the area with dense shrubs.
There are several reasons for this at once:
- usually, such areas are especially distinguished by an abundance of food. It is much easier to find it here than in the desert or mountains;
- it is easier to hunt in such an area, since it is much easier to go unnoticed and thus come close to the victim;
- there are usually very few people here. Despite their courage, the efa will still prefer to stay away from human eyes, rather than join the fight.
But in any case, they rarely create holes in such places for themselves, preferring simply to survive if necessary in secluded places. The only exceptions are those periods when they have offspring.
Now you know where the efa snake is found. Let's see what she eats.
What does the efa snake eat?
The main part of its time efa is in motion. Even after a hearty meal, she does not slow down. That is why it is especially easy for her to get food. She can easily move over sufficient distances and find herself a tasty diet in a new place. In addition, due to its amazing speed, it is usually easy to catch prey.
Efa can eat whatever food they can catch. Beetles, centipedes, locusts and other insects form the basis of Efa's diet. But this only applies to young individuals and small snakes. Adults most often still prefer rodents and even chicks, small lizards. This provides them with much longer saturation and eliminates the need to look for food.
Usually, snakes prefer to hunt at night. This is especially true on hot summer days. Then the efa waits out the heat in the hole, and at night goes hunting. Since snakes can see perfectly in the dark, it is not difficult to navigate the terrain perfectly in search of prey. But the rest of the time, the efa can lead an equally active lifestyle at any time, without giving up hunting in the daytime.
The snake can swallow small prey whole, which is the most convenient for it. But if the potential victim is very large or can resist, then the snake first immobilizes it with a portion of poison, and only then eats it. At night, Efa most often prefers to hunt mice and other small rodents.
Interesting fact: Efa is so dangerous that it can easily hunt even scorpions.
Character and Lifestyle Features
Many reptiles prefer to divide their day into two phases: rest and hunting. But this is not characteristic of the efe: the snake is equally active both during the day and at night. Even after a hearty meal, the efe does not need to rest – it may well be limited to a slight slowdown in its movements. Otherwise, its activity does not change.
Efa does not hibernate. In winter, she continues to lead exactly the same active lifestyle. The reason here, by the way, is not only in the body of the snake. It's just that it mostly lives in regions where severe cold usually does not occur. That is why her metabolism does not change in any way. If, nevertheless, the efe has to wait out the frosts, then for this she prefers to choose a secluded mink or crevice. But even in this case, she will not hibernate, but will only slow down her pace of life a little and refuse to move long distances.
Only in spring can a snake afford to slow down its pace a little and bask in the sun after a hearty snack. For humans, efa is a particular danger. If help is not provided in a timely manner, then from her bite you can quickly and painfully die. The toxin contained in its poison begins to destroy blood cells with lightning speed. The introduction of serum is required urgently.
Efa is absolutely not afraid of people. She can easily settle in a closet or any other place in the house. Often attacked first. That is why you need to be especially careful near the habitat of these snakes. Efa belongs to the category of the most evil snakes, which is why they often prefer to simply exterminate them if they settle near human settlements.
The reason is just the extreme aggression. Although some scholars claim that Efa only attacks when disturbed, this is not entirely true. She is often hostile for no apparent reason and can attack first by jumping 1-1.5m. She is also extremely fast moving, making her especially dangerous.
Photo: Efa snake
Efi are solitary snakes. However, like many other species. They prefer to lead a solitary life and come together only during the mating season. The rest of the time, they choose burrows at their own discretion, without focusing on others. Even if some places are the same for many, this is only because of favorable climatic or any other conditions, but not at all because the individuals decided to live together.
Efa belongs to the category of viviparous snakes. Mating usually takes place in January, and young kites are born around March. At the same time, the mating dance of snakes begins at the very beginning of winter. At one time, the efa can give birth to 3-15 babies, who from the very beginning lead a particularly active lifestyle. The average body length of newborn representatives of the species is not more than 15 cm.
Young individuals grow very quickly and soon already reach 60 cm. During the period of maturation of babies, the efa actively takes care of them, teaches them to hunt and feeds them. By the way, in rare cases, snakes can create a kind of family, and then the male and female can equally take care of the offspring until they reach puberty.
Although efa refers to viviparous, but not to mammals. For this reason, the snake does not feed the milk of newborn children. From the very beginning, they begin to eat the same food as adults. To do this, the mother supplies them with small insects. Very soon, they themselves begin to actively hunt and find small prey on their own.
Interesting fact: Even if poisonous glands are removed in captivity, newborn kites will remain dangerous in any case , since they will have these glands.
Efa's natural enemies
Due to excessive resourcefulness, in nature, the efa has very few enemies. Many still call the main enemy a person who seeks to exterminate a potentially dangerous population. But in fact, under natural conditions, the efu is also in danger. In particular, monitor lizards and stronger, larger snakes (for example, cobras) can sometimes attack eph.
Interesting fact: Rare cases of eph eating each other are known.
In normal times, it is quite easy for a snake to simply run away or give a fitting rebuff to the enemy. But at times when there are significant drops in temperature, Efs become more lethargic and can no longer properly respond to aggression. At this time, owls can pose a danger to them, and in case of crossing with magpies, they are included. Birds deliver targeted blows with their beaks to the head or liver area. At the same time, they never peck at the snake completely. There are also cases when birds simply bit off the tail of a snake.
For weakened or very young snakes, wasps and ants are of particular danger. They can attack the snake, biting through the skin and inflicting minor but serious wounds. When the snake is too exhausted, they attack in large numbers, first of all penetrating into the mouth and eyes of the reptile. In the end, the ants are able to gnaw the snake so much that only a skeleton remains of it. In nature, the mole voles can also cause significant harm. She often clogs the opening of the hole in which the snake is located. As a result, the reptile simply suffocates.
Interesting fact: In the event that danger approaches the ephe, it can hide in the sand so quickly that it seems as if it is drowning in it.
It is worth noting that in recent times, ef has often been preferred to be kept in captivity, after depriving it of its deadly poison. Under these conditions, ordinary cats are a danger to this type of snake. They can easily hit a snake on the head with their paw with force, and then bite its neck.
Population and species status
Efa refers to that category of snakes, which at all times were especially actively exterminated. The reason is that it poses a danger to people. At the same time, at the moment, almost all types of dangerous snakes are subject to state protection.
Efa belongs to the category of snakes, which are officially assigned the status of “rapidly declining species.” But today, despite any prohibitions on killing snakes, the population still continues to decline. Now the largest population of ef is observed in Saudi Arabia. Here their number is not so sharply reduced.
Almost everywhere, any representatives of the viper family are subject to protection in the sense that it is strictly forbidden to kill these reptiles. But this does not prevent exterminating snakes, and not even only as self-defense. Everyone knows that the skin of snakes is very popular as a material for the production of wallets, shoes and other accessories. Since the efa is rightfully considered one of the most beautiful snakes, it is also exterminated for a similar purpose. A small number of snakes are caught for the purpose of their subsequent maintenance in family terrariums, circuses.
At the same time, the development trend of the species is still quite positive. The reason is warming. In general, the temperature on the planet tends to increase. Against this background, the population of reptiles of all varieties is increasing. So, therefore, you should not worry about the complete disappearance of the population as such.
Although the efa snake is rightfully one of the ten most poisonous snakes on the planet, it is still very important to preserve this species. It deserves attention for at least two reasons: special beauty and a distinctive way of life. Recently, ephs have been attacking people less and less, preferring to stay away from dwellings. But still, when meeting with such a snake, you need to be extremely careful, since it is almost impossible to survive after its bite.