The viper is a powerful gray-brown snake with a dark head, dark eye stripes and a zigzag-shaped back pattern. It can be up to 1 meter long and is Denmark’s only poisonous snake. It is found all over Denmark, though not on Fanø and several other smaller islands. You can encounter it in the dunes and on very hot summer days, you may find that thirsty vipers are looking closer to the water. The snake’s poisonous teeth are backward, which means that it chops with a completely open gap to get stuck in the prey. Just as it chops, poison is quickly injected into the prey through hollow teeth that act as needles.

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The poison is lethal to smaller animals and can also be serious for humans, where about 75 people each year have to seek medical attention because of a vipers bite in Denmark.