Snakes like pythons and vipers are bad enough on their own, but combine them with a spider and you have a recipe for something truly terrifying. Unfortunately, there is an animal that exists called the spider-tailed viper. It is the culmination of all my worst fears.
The spider-tailed viper gets its name from the funky looking appendage at the end of its tail. Here you can see the appendage right next to the viper’s head, and it really looks like a spider.
Here’s a (disgusting) close-up.
Luckily, for most of the world’s acrophobes, spider-tailed vipers are native to the western deserts of Iran. They were only declared a new species in 2006.
Primarily, the viper uses its tail as a way to lure prey closer. The viper will wiggle its tail ever so slightly, while remaining perfectly still. When a passing animal takes notice of this strange thing moving on the ground, the viper moves the lure closer and closer to itself. Then when the prey is close enough, the viper strikes.
What makes the spider-tailed viper even more terrifying is that the snake somehow manages to perfectly mimic the movement of a spider.
Here’s what the spider-tailed viper’s tail looks like in motion. No matter how creepy it is, it’s hard not to be impressed by the creature’s creativity.
I’m just very glad that this snake lives in deserts of Iran, instead of anywhere close to North America. Somehow I don’t think I could ever run fast enough if I encountered one of these snakes in the wild.