Its prey is almost entirely grasshoppers, crickets and other insects, occasionally small mammals which it hunts primarily during the morning and early afternoon. Hibernation is from October until April/May.
Reproduction has been difficult to study in the wild. The Orsini’s viper is ovoviviparous and the females cycle is essentially bi-annual. Coupling takes place towards the end of May and between 3 and 8 young are born between the end of August and the end of September when they go straight into hibernation and do not eat until June the following year.
Population in steep decline - Endangered
It would appear that the principle problem for this snake is Human activities, roads, ski runs, tourism and theft by reptile dealers and collectors. It is also eaten by Short toed Eagles, Buzzards, Montagu’s Harriers and Ravens.
Level of protection. Habitats / Flora / Fauna Directives annexes 2 & 4 Berne convention annex 2, Washington convention annex 1, protected in France at the National level art1.