Species group: Rattlesnakes and Other Vipers
Other common names: Gaboon Viper; Butterfly Adder; Forest Puff Adder; Swampjack; Gaboon Adder; Babon Viper
Scientific name: Bitis gabonica
The very impressive and highly-venomous Gaboon Viper has long been a popular zoo animal. Armed with 2-inch-long fangs (the snake-world’s longest) and huge stores of venom, it should never be considered for private collections.
The Gaboon Viper ranges over much of tropical central and east Africa, from Nigeria to southern Sudan and south thorough Angola to northern South Africa, where it frequents rainforests and associated lightly-wooded habitats.
Appearance / health:
The background color is a complex pattern of various shades of brown, beige, yellow, cream, black and purple. The broad head is flat and resembles a dead leaf. The Gaboon Viper may attain 7 feet in length and weigh in excess of 22 pounds.
Zoo specimens have reached age 20+, but are considered prone to stress-related disorders.
Behavior / temperament:
Gaboon Vipers are inactive and appear “sluggish”, yet strike with amazing speed. Their bulk renders handling with snake hooks especially difficult and dangerous.
Venomous snake species are not suitable as pets in private collections. It is impossible for a private snake owner to adequately prepare for or treat a venomous snakebite, or, prior to a bite, to arrange for treatment in a hospital.
Gaboon Vipers are ambush predators, and take prey as large as genets and small antelopes. Zoo animals are fed rats and mice.
The young, 15-60 in number, are born alive after a gestation period of approximately 170 days.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
beautiful reptile, stunning snake, expert snake handlers, stunning patterns
deadly snake, potent venom, fast strike, inexperienced snake handler, largest fangs, long strike range
If you are considering a Gaboon viper as a pet, please ask yourself why.
Even for the experienced venomous handler, these are difficult and dangerous snakes, and in fact a Gaboon viper has been the end of more than one overconfident hobbyist.
They are exotic animals which require a certain, fairly specific level of heat and humidity that may be difficult to provide. They are large, heavy-bodied (up to nearly 20 pounds!) ground snakes, which makes moving them an extreme challenge. They are known for going on "hunger strikes." They have tempers, and despite their large and sedate appearance, they can move with extreme speed and agility when they want to.
And their two-inch fangs produce a massive venom load, more than enough to kill an adult human.
So, if you're considering a Gaboon viper, think about why. Is it because it's the "coolest" most intense, most dangerous animal you could have? Is it for the status? Is it worth it?
My personal opinion would be to leave this animal to the professionals.
(Photo by Brimac the 2nd).
From ekccritters Nov 22 2015 3:44PM