Titles Held By The Snake
The Gaboon viper (Bitis gabonica) is the snake with the longest fangs in the world. The fangs of the snake are up to 2 inches long. The venomous snake is not just the largest species of its genus but also the heaviest viperid in the world. This is not all. The Gaboon viper also has the highest venom yield of any snake.
Where Is The Gaboon Viper Found?
The Gaboon viper lives in the savannas and the rainforests of sub-Saharan Africa. The snakes can live at altitudes of up to 2,100 meters but are generally found in the lowland areas. Sometimes, the vipers venture into the plantations and croplands within their range.
What Does The Gaboon Viper Eat?
The Gaboon viper feeds on rodents, birds, rabbits, and hares. The snake is capable of swallowing prey as large as a fully grown adult rabbit. After striking the prey and injecting it with venom, the Gaboon viper hangs on to the prey with its large fangs until it dies. This behavior of the Gaboon viper is unique as most other venomous snakes release their prey and wait for it to die before swallowing the prey.
The Behavior Of The Snake
The Gaboon viper is described as generally slow-moving. The vipers usually hunt by ambush but are also known to hunt actively. These vipers are also less aggressive than other viper species.
The Physical Appearance Of The Gaboon Viper
The adult Gaboon vipers are about 125 to 155 cm long and weigh around 8kg. The stout body of the snake has bold brown, purple, and buff patterns with triangles and rectangles which endow the snake with a velvet-like appearance. The color of the snake camouflages it well in the forest habitat making it nearly invisible among the foliage. It is regarded as Africa’s heaviest venomous snake. The head of the snake is broad with two hornlike projections on the snout.
The Venom Of The Viper
The Gaboon viper’s venom is cytotoxic but is less toxic than the venom of a number of other viperids. However, the venom glands of the snake are enormous so that when the snake bites, a large amount of venom is injected into the victim’s body. If humans are bitten by the snake, rapid swelling, intense pain, local blistering, and severe shocks might be the immediate resulting symptoms. Fatalities are not uncommon.