As of 2021, there are 368 species of viper worldwide. The name comes from the term viviparity, which means giving birth to live young. Which are the most dangerous? Andrew Whitworth travels around the world to visit some of nature’s most incredible snakes.




Before you watch

Fill in the gaps in the video extracts with the words in bold below:

venomous         prey      hatch    predators          swallow

weapons            strike                  lay                       fangs

Unlike most snakes, which 1. ……………. eggs, most vipers have eggs that 2. ………. inside the mother, who then gives birth to up to dozens of tiny snakes. (…) Vipers are salso highly 3. ……………., with two hollow 4. ………. that fold flat to the roofs of their mouths. This allows the fangs to be extra long, unfolding into imposing 5. …………. when the viper prepares to 6. ………… . (…)

The eastern diamondback rattlesnake is the largest of 36 species of rattlesnake. Rattlesnakes can shake their rattles up to 90 times per second to warn off  7. ………….. for hours if needed. (…)

Although deadly, Gaboon vipers have a reputation for being slow-moving and placid creatures. When they do strike, they hold onto their rodent 8. ………. while the venom takes effect, then quickly 9. …………… it down.


Now watch the video and check your answers:

Key: 1.lay; 2. hatch; 3. venomous; 4. fangs; 5. weapons; 6. strike; 7. predators; 8. prey; 9. swallow



  • intrepid – extremely brave and showing no fear of dangerous situations
  • imposing – very impressive because of great size, stately appearance, dignity, elegance, etc.
  • bulbous – fat and round
  • to lure – to trick them into a particular place or to trick them into doing something that they should not do
  • crevice –  a narrow opening resulting from a split or crack (as in a cliff)

Practice Makes Perfect


Read the first 3 paragraphs of the article: A Man Who Loved Rattlesnakes: https://www.newyorker.com/news/afterword/a-man-who-loved-rattlesnakes

and match the words in bold (1-10) to their definitions a) – j)  below.

Rattlesnakes 1. give most people the creeps. But there is a subset of people who find them inviting. Eugene DeLeon (1962-2022) was frequently photographed cozying up with, and even 2. smooching, rattlesnakes; he had no fear of them at all. His interest started early. His father, a security guard in the Texas oil fields, used to while away his shift catching snakes that 3. wriggled by his post, and would bring them home for his children to admire before releasing them. The passion for snakes stuck with DeLeon. “He was crazy for them,” his daughter Blanca Treviño told me recently. “Very crazy.”

After studying at Coastal Bend College, DeLeon, who worked in the oil fields like his father, founded Snakebusters Snake Handlers, an all-purpose snake enterprise. Snakes in your basement? No problem: call Snakebusters. Need snake blood for a folk 4. remedy for cancer? Snakebusters can 5. accommodate. The brushy fields around DeLeon’s home in Freer, Texas, a small town about a hundred miles south of San Antonio, are prime rattler territory—the snakes found their way onto playgrounds and into shopping centers and living rooms all the time. DeLeon, who was also a volunteer firefighter and 6. civic-minded in every way, liked that he was doing something helpful in town.

Also like his father, DeLeon would catch snakes in the field and bring them home for his children to see. He always kept a few in a cage in the back yard, too. Treviño said that she would have been happy “to kiss those snakes goodbye.” But, as soon as DeLeon’s son, Eugene, Jr., was old enough, he joined Snakebusters, marking the start of a third generation of DeLeon snake fans. DeLeon’s wife, Simona, however, was not an enthusiast of the whole venomous-reptile thing (although now and then she accompanied him on his snake hunts). During the past few years, she had pressed him to hang it up, but he couldn’t be 7. budged. “He was stubborn,” Treviño said. “He just had this attitude that nothing was going to stop him.” The 8. capstone of every year for the Snakebusters was the Freer Rattlesnake Roundup, a three-day slithering-creature festival held each spring, which includes exhibitions and a 9. pageant and competition to be named the year’s Rattlesnake Royalty. DeLeon was in his glory there, demonstrating his rattlers and selling snakeskin 10. doodads and rattlesnake meat. (“It really does taste like chicken,” Treviño said. “If you cook it right, it’s delicious.”)

a) tending to do things that help your city or town and the people who live there

b) (like a “thingamajig”) items whose name you’re not sure of

c) a successful way of curing an illness

d) persuaded

e) colourful and impressive show or ceremony

f) make you feel nervous and a little frightened, especially because they are strange

g) kissing

h) the crowning achievement, point, element, or event

i) twisted and turned with quick movements

j) fit in with the wishes or needs of


Key: 1f); 2g); 3i); 4c); 5j); 6a); 7d); 8h); 9e); 10b)




  • How do you feel about snakes?
  • Do you think snakes make good pets?
  • Would you like to try snake meat?
  • What do you think of snake-skin products?
  • What kinds of snakes are there in your country?
  • Do you have any personal snake stories?


Explore it more to create your own teaching-learning experience!


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