The Gaboon Viper, Bitis Gabonica
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The Gaboon Viper, Bitis Gabonica

The Gaboon viper is purportedly the heaviest snake with the longest fangs in the world.

Gaboon vipers, scientifically known as Bitis Gabonica are accepted as a species of snakes with the longest fangs on the planet, measuring up to 1.6 inches in length. Though its venom may not be as potent as that of other snakes, the exceptional length of the Gaboon viper’s fangs ensures that it is able to deliver into an unfortunate animal a large dose of venom, which also aids in the snake’s digestive system, making it among the deadliest snakes not to be trifled with. Weighing at most 8 kg and measuring up to 7 feet in body length, the Gaboon viper is also supposedly the heaviest of all African serpents. It is known by other names, such as the butterfly adder, the forest puff adder, swampjack, Gaboon adder. The Gaboon viper derives its name from that of Gabon, a country in Central West Africa. It is most commonly found in forested regions of West and Central Africa.

the gaboon viper

The Gaboon viper

One other intriguing trait the Gaboon viper possesses, other than a characteristic pair of rostral horns found between the snake’s nostrils is the various patterns of black and brown commonly found on the snake as a contributing factor to its camouflage against the forest floor, which it uses to its advantage, by lying in wait for unwary prey, such as rodents and birds. The snake will then lunge at it with lightning speed that belied its slow, sluggish disposition, usually about one third of its body length, before injecting a dose of the Gaboon viper’s venom into it through its exceptionally long fangs. The force of the snake’s strike is sometimes so powerful that the trauma caused is enough to put its unfortunate prey out of its misery.

Being mostly nocturnal, the Gaboon viper only comes out of its slow, sluggish disposition, hunting for prey actively during the night, especially the first six hours of it.

Gaboon vipers are also regarded as a tolerant species of snakes such that the snake only attacks someone when provoked, for instance, when a person inadvertently steps on the snake hidden inconspicuously amid the leaves and roots strewn across the forest floor. Even so, if fortunate enough, the snake may not bother to bite its provoker sometimes. Still, considering the lethal nature of a Gaboon viper’s bite, the bitten person must be subjected to immediate medical attention before it is too late.

References: 

1. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/223189/Gaboon-viper

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitis_arietans#Description

3. http://www.reptiles.ug/Gaboon%20Viper.htm

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Comments (1)

Good article,thanks.

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