An asp is simply a kind of snake. It belongs to a family of snakes called “vipers”, which includes some of the deadliest poisonous snakes in the world. Some other snakes in this unpleasant group are the rattlesnake, the water moccasin, the copperhead, the South American bushmaster, the poisonous adder of Europe, the chain viper of India, and the horned viper of Africa.
The asp that is supposed to have killed Cleopatra was probably the horned viper of Africa. The poison, or venom, of such a snake destroys the capillaries in the body so a person dies of internal bleeding.
All vipers have thick bodies and flat, triangular heads. Their poison fangs, which are located in their upper jaws, are really very long teeth. There is a tube or channel in these teeth which connects to the poison glands, or sacs, located just behind the eyes.
When the snake wants to bite, it contracts the muscles of these sacs and the poison flows out through the fangs into the open wound which the snake has made by its bite. In a medium-sized snake, as much as half a teaspoon of this poison can be put into the victim at one time!
Removing the fangs of such a snake does not do much good. This is because new fangs are always developing behind the old fangs. So they simply take the place of the removed fangs!
The vipers are divided into two families: the true vipers, which are found only in Europe and parts of Africa, and the pit vipers, which are found in the Western Hemisphere and some parts of Asia.
The most deadly of all vipers is the chain viper of India, which is often 1.5 meters long. By the way, vipers will not strike unless they are molested or are seeking prey. But it is still wise to stay away from them!
What ASP Means?
ASP means “At Some Point”.