Saint Louis Zoo
2:55 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

That's Not A Worm: Endangered Ocellate Mountain Vipers Born At Saint Louis Zoo

In a slight departure from the cute-beyond-debate baby animal post, today we bring you a look at a group of highly endangered baby snakes born at the Saint Louis Zoo. 

The Zoo says nine ocellate mountain vipers were born there on Aug. 16. The species is from northeastern Turkey.

Another look at the vipers.
Credit (Courtesy Saint Louis Zoo)

“With a strong history of caring for this species, the Zoo found value in focusing its conservation efforts on a group largely ignored by other zoological institutions,” Jeff Ettling said in a statement. Ettling is the curator of herpetology & aquatics at the Zoo, and director of both the Center for Conservation in Western Asia and the Ron Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation. “Our studies of mountain vipers in our care have already provided useful information on reproduction and behavior of these poorly known species.” 

Cute or not, and that's up to you, the species has an interesting history. Once thought to be extinct for nearly 140 years, the viper species was "re-discovered" in 1983, the zoo says.

Just for fun: "Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?"