Gaboon Viper

It is a venomous Gaboon Viper, which is primarily found in Africa. While some of us dislike the concept of having snakes as pets, others find them to be fascinating. Read this blog to learn everything there is to know about this type of snake.

Gaboon Viper

  • It is a large venomous snake that is mostly found in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The sub-Saharan African savannas and rainforests are home to this creature.
  • Of all venomous snakes, it possesses the longest fangs. The majority of their time is spent at night.
  • It is Africa’s largest poisonous snake by weight. The neck is just approximately one-third the width of the head, whereas the head is huge and triangular.
  • It is one of the biggest and heaviest vipers in the world. It also has the longest venomous snake fangs, which, when not in use, fold up against the roof of the snake’s mouth and frequently measure two inches or longer.
  • This snake has a broad, triangular head, vertically split pupils, and larger, horn-like scales on its nose.
  • This nocturnal hunter would wait for its victim to pass by while lying motionless on the forest floor beneath the leaf litter. The viper will attack rapidly, biting its victim and injecting venom into it.
  • The viper clings to its prey until it expires, at which point it swallows its entire, head first.

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Scientific Name

Bitis gabonica



Physical Characteristic

The largest of the vipers, Gaboon vipers are huge snakes with average adult lengths of roughly 1.2 meters. Some, however, have been measured at 2.2 m long or longer. They have a head that is 12.7 cm wide, a maximum weight of 10 kg, with fangs that are around 5 cm long. The heads of Gaboon vipers are triangular and have noticeable rostral horns. An extremely dark line runs down the middle of the head, and there are two dark spots, one over each jaw. The majority of the body’s scales are keeled and ridged, however, a few rows of scales on the bottom of both sides are smooth. The body’s middle region has 28 to 40 rows of scales, with an average of 125 to 140 rows on the ventral side. The number of scales that males and females have varies (females having less than 135 rows and males having less than 132 rows). The color patterns on Gaboon vipers’ scales are amazing; they create a symmetrical pattern that is unlike anything else. Typically, the foundation color is brown or purple.


  • They are the largest vipers in Africa, growing to a length of more than 6 feet.
  • At their broadest point, the heads of the largest individuals measure approximately 6 inches (15 centimetres).


  • They weigh more than 45 pounds (1.8 meters). 


  • The color of the Gaboon Viper is a mixture of light and dark brown, pink, and purple organized in stripes and diamond patterns down its back.
  • Its little eyes are surrounded by light and black lines.
  • Its large crown and short tail, down to the central vein, resemble a falling leaf.


  • They are carnivores that eat many various species of rodents, such as field mice and rats, as well as hares and rabbits.
  • They also prey on a range of birds and mammals.
  • Carnivores include Gaboon vipers.
  • Their main food sources include lizards, frogs, frog eggs, and rodents.
  • They occasionally have been observed pursuing larger prey, including hares and mongooses.

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Nocturnal Behavior

  • They are generally solitary and nocturnal.
  • They hide fully during the night in the dead grass or leaves on the ground, lying in wait.

Hunting Behavior 

  • They frequently wait for extended periods unmoving for suitable prey to pass by as they hunt via surprise.
  • They may, however, also engage in active hunting, usually in the first six hours of the night.

Mating Behavior 

  • Between September and December, Gaboon Vipers reproduce.
  • Males engage in warfare at this time.


  • In sections of Central, East, and West Africa, they reside in damp and tropical rainforests.
  • They live on the ground and are visible on the forest floor.
  • They consume birds and tiny to medium-sized animals.
  • Gaboon vipers are solitary hunters who wait in the shadows to attack any small animals that come within striking distance. 

Human Adaption

  • Viper-typically, the fangs fold up on the roof of the mouth when not in use because they are too long for the closed mouth. The Gaboon is the most venomous snake and has the longest fangs (large examples can have fangs that are 2 inches long).
  • Because of their effective camouflage and deadly venom, few predators bother the adults due to their size. The Secretary Birds (Sagittarius serpent Arius), giant snake-eating snakes, and maybe large monitor lizards are the exceptions, especially for smaller baby snakes.

Humans’ Economic Importance

Positive: It is known that Gaboon viper venom has no medical use, but more research is required.

Negative: They are normally not aggressive when left alone, but they can cause direct harm to people if disturbed. They will hiss loudly or bite you with poison if they feel threatened. The fangs of Gaboon vipers have claimed many human lives. Affected limbs have frequently needed to be amputated for survivors. Their lethal venom contains hemotoxin and a neurotoxin that kills blood vessels and cells.


  • The rainy season is probably when snakes mate. Men respectfully fight each other for the privilege of mating.
  • They will engage in silent combat and pause in between rounds. When the victor elevates his head while pinning the losers to the ground, the fight is over.
  • Like the majority of vipers, Gaboon is ovoviviparous. Until they are ready to hatch, eggs are kept inside the body.
  • Typically, breeding occurs in the dry season, while snakelings are born in the wet season. Although large females don’t typically breed every year, they have been observed to deliver up to 60 eggs in one batch.
  • In the late summer, females often give birth to 8–43 live infants. About 7 months pass during gestation. At birth, snakelets are 30 cm long and are independent of parental care.

Breeding and Growth

  • When two male Gaboon cross paths while pursuing a female, they will wrestle with vipers.
  • Although they will intertwine their forebodies and necks, combatants do not rise as tall as other vipers do. Males who are equally matched can and do wrestle for a long period, sometimes pausing the match to take a break.
  • The winner elevates his head into the air while pushing the other man’s head down. To bring the adversary to the ground is the objective.


  • A female can give birth to 50–60 children at once.
  • The newborns are alive.
  • Vipers from Gabon typically live for 20 years.


  • They do not release their prey after a strike, in contrast to other vipers.
  • They hold it until it passes away.
  • Depending on their size, vipers consume a range of foods.
  • According to Savitzky, prey includes tiny mammals, birds, lizards, and eggs.
  • They consume their prey whole once it has passed away.


  • Vipers that are fully grown have no predators of their own, however, bold secretary birds occasionally snare young vipers.

Gaboon Viper Moving

  • They are regarded as mature, slow-moving snakes that primarily move by rectilinear “rib-walking,” similar to huge boas and pythons.
  • Although they don’t often act aggressively, when they do, the bite is very severe and the strike is quick.

Gaboon Viper Fangs & Teeth 

It is one of the biggest and heaviest Gaboon Vipers in the world. It also boasts the longest venomous snake fangs, which frequently measure two inches or longer and fold up against the roof of the snake’s mouth when not in use.

  • The extreme fangs of vipers are known to be long, hollow, hinged, and rotating. It means they could rotate their fangs. 
  • These fangs are attached to venom glands that are situated at the upper back of the jaw, behind the eyes. As the viper bites, the venom descends via the following teeth and is injected into the prey.
  • Without injecting venom, vipers can lengthen their fangs and bite. A dry bite, also known as a dry bite, frequently occurs in human snakebites. Dry bites allow vipers to retain their prior venom, which can deplete and require some time to replenish.

Gaboon Viper Fangs Length 

  • A farm-bred young Gaboon viper can be purchased for about $100 if you’d prefer not to steal one.
  • They can live for 20 years and require minimal upkeep.

Gaboon Viper Bite

  • The type of viper that bit you and whether it was a wet or dry bite—which has no venom—determine how painful it was.
  • In general, vipers contain enzymatic venom that damages many tissues.
  • It produces extreme swelling, agony, and necrosis, which is cell death and destruction. Usually, a sudden, severe drop in blood pressure results in death. All viper bites need to be taken seriously, and medical care needs to be provided.
  • Viper venom aids in food digestion in addition to killing prey and harming predators. Since vipers swallow their meal whole, digesting it is a difficult task that is made more difficult by their typically ineffective digestive systems. During the prey’s digesting process, the venom degrades lipids, acids, and proteins.

Blue Gaboon Viper

  • There aren’t many blue snakes in the world, therefore people find them fascinating because of their unique coloring. The blue pit viper is one such snake.
  • Only in locations like Komodo Island, where both green and blue individuals have been observed, does the uncommon blue type exist.

Gaboon Viper Subspecies

The East African Gaboon Viper and the West African Gaboon Viper are the two distinct subspecies of the Gaboon viper. 

West African Gaboon Viper

  • The scientific name of this species is Bitis gabonica rhinoceros.
  • They are mainly found around humid forests and savannas.
  • Gaboon vipers from West Africa have a triangular head and dispersed scales that resemble horns above their nostrils.
  • They have complex symmetrical body patterns that resemble a line of yellow hourglasses, and their ridged scales range in hue from brown to purple.
  • Small animals, rodents, ground-dwelling birds, frogs, and toads are their main food sources.

Gaboon Viper for Sale

  • A farm-bred young Gaboon viper can be purchased for about $100 if you’d prefer not to steal one.
  • They can live for 20 years and require minimal upkeep.

Predators & Threats

  • They are preyed upon by monitor lizards, big snakes, and secretary birds. These typically prey on children.
  • Their primary method of protection is to remain undetectable, but if this fails, they will stand up and bare their fangs in a “yawn.” Although it seems uncommon, they can bite creatures that harm them. They won’t usually bite, even if they are trodden on.
  • Through habitat degradation, humans have a minor impact on their numbers.

Conservation & Status

  • 57 species of vipers are listed as extinct or extinct in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), near threatened, vulnerable, endangered, or highly endangered. 

Gaboon Viper bite Causes Death?

  • Its venom is particularly harmful to mammals.
  • Victims of a Gaboon Viper bite could result in death unless the necessary antidote is delivered timely.
  • Their hemotoxic venom is strong enough to harm the body’s major systems right away.
  • If the patient is not given the proper care, a Viper bite could turn fatal.

How Dangerous Is the Venom of the Gaboon Viper?

  • Because of the snake’s docile nature and the difficulty in inducing a bite, Gaboon viper bites are quite uncommon.
  • As a warning, the reptile prefers to hiss and lower its head. However, time is of the essence if someone has been bitten. The snake injects a lot of venoms even if the substance itself isn’t particularly dangerous.
  • To treat a bite, antivenom is available, but it must be administered quickly.
  • Even then, necrosis or bleeding brought on by the bite may mean that a limb must be amputated because it prevents the lesion from healing properly.

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Gaboon Viper-FAQ

What is a Gaboon Viper?

It is the largest viper in Africa. They are poisonous and their bite can be fatal.

How deadly is a Gaboon Viper?

More venom is thought to be produced by the Gaboon Viper (Bitis gabonica) than by any other poisonous snake. Venom from a single adult animal might be fatal enough to inject into 30 different males.

How fast can a Gaboon Viper kill you?

The likelihood of survival after being bitten by these reptiles is extremely low, and if untreated, the venom can slowly suffocate the victim from the inside out in just two to four hours.

How much does a Gaboon Viper cost?

Although they may be purchased for around $100, purchasing one is not advised.

Are Gaboon Vipers aggressive?

They are regarded as mature, slow-moving snakes that primarily move by rectilinear “rib-walking,” similar to huge boas and pythons. Although they don’t often act aggressively, when they do, the bite is very severe and the strike is quick. They do not release their prey after a strike, in contrast to other vipers.

Are Gaboon Vipers slow?

They are known for their slow-moving and placid.

Who eats Gaboon Vipers?

There are no known predators of adult gaboon vipers. Even the monitor lizards, some of Africa’s most famous snake eaters, which are likely immune to many snake venoms, do not desire 2 inch deep puncture wounds.