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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/280

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In temperate climates serpents as a rule are less fierce than in the tropics. In North America the Crotalidœ comprise twelve species with rattles, and three species in which rattles are absent. Of the last named, the copperhead and moccasin snakes are well known. Of the first, the northern rattlesnake (Fig. 7) is familiar, and unpleasantly abundant in many parts of the country, but is nowhere fierce or inclined to attack. Fig. 8 is of the common viper, or adder of England and the Continent.

All the gigantic crushing species are found in regions of torrid temperature. Of these, the Guinea rock or fetich snake (Fig. 10) is allied to the family of pythons already noticed.

There too are the most terribly fierce of the venomous species, as the fer de lance (Fig. 11); the cobra (Fig. 12), sacred in India, the killing of which with some tribes is considered sacrilege; the haje or spitting-snake of Africa, a hooded species, and allied to the cobra, and the horned puff-adder (Fig. 13), whose poison is used to tip arrows by the South-African Bushmen.

Fig. 8.
PSM V04 D280 Common adder.jpg
Common Adder of England and the Continent.—(Venomous.)

The mere recital of their names excites in one unpleasant sensations. Deaths from the bite of serpents in temperate regions which they infest are surprisingly rare. It is otherwise, however, in the tropics, and perhaps no country has so fearful a mortality from the bites of venomous snakes as India. In six provinces, which include Assam and Orissa, with a population of about 121,000,000, 11,416 deaths were reported in a single year. This is about one in every 10,000 of population, and this is only an approximation to the actual mortality, for many districts sent no returns. A majority of all the deaths from this cause was from cobras; yet this serpent, as ob-