Threatened Species List

Today 73 viper species are vulnerable to critically endangered

Photo by Scott Trageser

How endangered are vipers

Although vipers represent only 9% of all the snake species that exist on the planet, they currently represent about 17% of the 429 snakes listed as threatened on the IUCN Red List. Globally, 30 species of vipers are listed as vulnerable, 33 as endangered, and 10 as critically endangered.

Why are they Threatened

Human activities coupled with certain aspects of their biology, such as low number of offspring and slow growth, for example, make vipers particularly vulnerable to extinction. Today, the biggest threat to vipers is the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of their habitat. In addition to the direct consequences of habitat loss on snakes, isolated viper populations – resulting from habitat fragmentation – have low genetic diversity and may be at increased risk of extinction. While habitat loss is the main factor contributing to vipers disappearance, many others are also to be considered:
  • Many wild snakes are captured for illegal trade.
  • In many parts of the world, humans hunt vipers for food.
  • The collection of vipers for venom extraction has resulted in potential over-collection of several species.
  • The rapidly changing climate is a growing challenge for vipers.
  • In many countries, snakes are persecuted and killed due to fear or hatred.

Want to learn more about the status of Vipers? Discover the IUCN Red List

What is it ? The IUCN Red List is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity. Far more than a list of species and their status, it is a powerful tool to inform and catalyze action for biodiversity conservation and policy change, critical to protecting the natural resources we need to survive. It provides information about range, population size, habitat and ecology, use and/or trade, threats, and conservation actions that will help inform necessary conservation decisions.


We can make a difference by changing the trajectory of declines and preventing extinctions of viper species. But to really make an impact, we need to do it together!

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