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Gaboon viper

Bitis gaponica

CHARACTERISTICS

Family
Bitis

Size
1.5 - 1.8 m, females more than 2 m

Habitat
damp forest floors in central Africa

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

Records

  • The Gaboon viper has the longest poisonous fangs of any snake. They measure from 5 to 7 cm and can even pierce hard shoes.
  • The Gaboon viper has the most venom of any snake.
  • Weighing in at up to 10 kg it is the heaviest poisonous snake in the world.

Favourite Foods

The Gaboon viper mainly eats small mammals up to the size of a domestic cat.

Good to Know  

  • The Gaboon viper is a master of disguise - its scaly coat is barely noticeable against the leaf-covered earth. They lie in wait to ambush their prey, often staying completely still for hours then darting forward to bite at speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour. Their fangs are only used for biting.
  • After a gestation period of 7 to 12 months up to 40 offspring are born. The young snakes have fully-developed and functioning poison glands and fangs.
  • Gaboon vipers can live up to 30 years.