lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

V is for Viper

Geoff Gallice

Eyelash pit viper image by Geoff Gallice on Flikr.



Eyelash Pit Viper

Eyelash pit vipers are beautiful snakes that come in a variety of colours. They live in tropical rainforest, montane forest and cloud forest in Central and northern South America.

They are arboreal, and ambush prey – they wait hidden under leaves, and sometimes use the end of their tail as a wormlike lure for birds and other invertebrate predators.

They have pit organs between each eye and nostril and these can sense the direction and body heat of their prey.

As you can see from the lovely image, eyelash vipers are so called because they have scales that look like eyelashes. These are thought to offer some camouflage in among the leaves, breaking up the outline of their head, and also some protection from branches – they are quite rough in texture.

These vipers are extremely venomous, with large, hypodermic, fang teeth that fold back when not in use – being storable like this means they can be longer to directly inject their prey deeply with poison.

They have been shipped all over the world in consignments of bananas – be careful if you open a box from America!

They are not listed as endangered and have not been assessed by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, but like all rainforest creatures they are at risk of deforestation for timber, agriculture and urbanisation.



Image © as above.

Poem © Liz Brownlee.

Facts: Wikipedia.

If you would like to blog-hop to the next A-Z Challenge blog, please click here.

If you’d like to read about or buy my book, Animal Magic, full of animal poems and fascinating facts, click here.


  1. Shonna Slayton

    What a great poem! It’s so visual. My daughter went to a reptile presentation today and came home wanting a pet snake. Maybe she’ll settle for a poem snake 🙂 #atozchallenge


    • Hehe! I’m very pleased my children never had a snake, not that I don’t love them, but they do require quite specialist care and I’m not sure they ever gaze at you adoringly…


  2. Beautiful poem and love how you created it in a snake like formation. The snake is actually quite …um… striking:)


  3. I love the spacing of the word appetite. I enjoyed the rhymes and the way that it read with all of the short lines…great poem!

    Michelle @ In Media Res


    • Thank you Michelle! I certainly enjoyed spacing that wormy-tail!


  4. I love it! The poem is beautiful in itself, but how you’ve typed it out with the curvature of a snake … EXCELLENT!
    I had to go back and catch up on some I’ve missed. Loved the Sundragon one too. Of course, being a dragonfly lover, I’m possibly biasedl


  5. Fab, a great shape too x


  6. A new form??LOL
    Creative 🙂


    • I wish it was me that had invented shape poetry! No, lots of people do it, the first known example was in 1633, when a poet did a poem in the shape of outstretched bird wings. Can’t recall his name – it began to take off (no pun intended!) in the 1950s as a way of intensifying the meaning of a poem and was given the name ‘concrete’ poetry – perhaps because you build with the words? I don’t know. But it’s also known as shape poetry and if you Google it you should find lots of examples – I’ve done several here on this blog.


  7. So clever how you curled the words around! Awesome!


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