Gaboon Viper
Bitis gabonica

CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
FAMILY: Viperidae

SIZE:
4 - 6.6 feet

RANGE:
Central, eastern, and southern Africa

HABITAT:
Tropical forest floor

DIET:
Wild - Rodents
Zoo - Rats and mice

DESCRIPTION:

  • The pale broad head has a central dark line from front to back and a pair of knobs on the snout. A dark brown triangle runs from the eye to the upper lip.
  • The body is a rich mixture of purples and browns interspersed with buff or yellow rectancles and velvety brown hourglasses down the middle of the back.
  • The sides are buff, purple, brown, and pink triangles.
  • The belly is buff with dark and gray blotches.

FACTS:

  • The coloration is a great camouflage against the forest floor.
  • Generally placid, rarely striking.
  • Venomous; bites cause a lot of tissue damage and be fatal.

YOUNG:
Give birth to as many as 60 live young

STATUS:
Not threatened, common.

REFERENCES:
Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. Vol. 7 Reptiles, Michael Hutchins, Editor
The Dangerous Snakes of Africa, Stephen Spawls and Bill Branch