Keepers over at Reptile World have welcomed four tiny Eye-lash Vipers which are being cared for behind the scenes.
These vipers are easily recognised by their remarkable colours, which can even include pink, and a triangular head. Eye-lash vipers are tiny in size, with adults growing to only 80cm, which makes them one of the smallest venomous snakes in Central America.
If you look closely at the pictures you can see why the snake is called the Eye-lash Viper. Even as juveniles they have a bristly scale growth above their eyes, which creates an eyelash effect.
The Keepers report that the babies are really tiny, about 120mm in length and 4 to 5mm thick in the middle. At this size they still need to be handled with care as their venom has the same toxicity as adults; it’s just that their fangs are much smaller and they inject a smaller dose.
What's fascinating is that this type of snake gives birth to live young. Eyelash vipers are 'viviparous' which means that the female retains the unshelled eggs inside her body. When the young are fully developed they "hatch" inside her before being born.
While the youngsters are off display, Zoo visitors can still see the strikingly coloured parents on display at Reptile World (map reference 13L).