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Family Lamprophiidae; Sub-family Atractaspidinae; Genus Atractaspis

A small group of exclusively venomous snakes, found only in Africa and the Middle East, characterised by their side-striking fangs and unique venom components (sarafatoxins), only a few species of which appear able to significantly envenom humans.

FIGURE: Diagramatic representation of a "typical" atractaspis head, showing side fang.

FIGURE: Approximate global distribution of Atractaspis snakes.

TABLE: Atractaspis snakes and their principal clinical effects.

Scientific name Common name Effect
Actractaspis African mole or side fanged vipers Depends on species; may cause local effects, necrosis, cardiotoxicity

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