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Pythons and adders are both well-known varieties of snake, but they differ in appearance and characteristics enormously, even within their own fields.
Pythons were one of the first types of snakes to evolve, and are closely related to the lizard. There are over twenty different species, ranging from the very small, 2 feet in the case of the Children’s python to the enormous Burmese pythons, which can grow to be over 20 feet long and weigh over 200 pounds. All pythons are constrictors. They have a lifespan of over 20 years in the wild, and are found in Africa, Asia, Australia and occasionally North America.

Burmese pythons can be divided into 3 sub-species – Ceylon, Indian and Burmese. They are characterised by being tan in colour, with an olive brown dorsal and a dark spearhead on the top of the head. They can grow to over 20 feet in length and are one of the largest of pythons. These snakes eat mammals, rodents and birds, and can be found in Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia.

African rock pythons are the only large python species native to Africa. They are covered in small scales, and are brown or green-brown in colour with a row of darker brown markings along the back. They eat mammals and birds and have even been known to devour small crocodile. These pythons also grow to be very large, with an average adult length of 18 feet. They are found south of the Sahara, often near grasslands and water.

Spotted pythons are one of the smallest types of pythons, with an average length of 4 feet. They are characterised by large, bold, brown blotches on a yellowish background. They are native to New South Wales in Australia, favouring woodland and rocky outcrops. They eat mammals, especially rats, and birds.

Vipers can be found all over the world apart from Australia and Madagascar. Unlike the python they rely on a poisonous bite to subdue their prey. All have a pair of shortened jawbones with a single fang attached. This fang is hinged so it can be conveniently folded back when not needed. The venom is pushed through a canal in the fang. Vipers are typically short and stocky in appearance, and are mainly land or tree dwelling, although some semi aquatic species do exist.

Hairy bush vipers are slender with very long scales that curl up at the tips. It is pale to dark green or yellow in colour, and it may be possible to spot faint crossbars across the back. These snakes are small, growing to 2 feet, but have a deadly venom. They are native to the forests of West Africa.

Horned adders are another type of venomous viper. They are short and stocky in appearance, with a flattened body and short tail. These snakes have a horn above each eye, and are generally coloured according to the soil on which they live, for camouflage purposes. Horned adders are also small, being little longer than a foot. They are found in the desert and semi-desert of south and south west Africa.

Gaboon vipers are one of the larger types of vipers, growing up to 7 feet in length. They are large and heavy bodied, with a broad, flat triangular head and small eyes. They also have a small tail. They have a pattern consisting of diamonds, rectangles, and triangles similar in colour to leaf litter, which they often use as camouflage. Gaboon vipers eat small and medium sized mammals and birds and live in the forests of central and eastern Africa.