Facts about West African Gaboon Viper snake. "Scientific name for West African Gaboon Viper snake Bitis gabonica". The West African Gaboon Viper (Bitis Gabonica) is a poisonous snake that lives in the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa and rain-forests. It is not only the world’s heaviest viperid. The average size of an adult West African Gaboon Viper snake is about 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) is average, but can grow to 7 feet (2.1 meters), being the largest viper in Africa attaining weights of over 44 pounds (20kg) and possessing fangs up to 2 1/4 inches (6.0cm) long. Dorsal (a ventral nerve cord) in 28-46 slightly oblique rows at mid body. 132 Ventral scales (relating to the underside of an animal) 25 pairs male 23 female, of subcaudal scales (Situated under, or on the ventral side of, the tail: as, the chevron bones or subcaudal). The West African Gaboon Viper is also the biggest member of genus Bitis. It produces the largest amount of venom compared to any other venomous snakes. The viper is also referred to as forest puff adder, butterfly adder, swamp jack and many others. Scientific name for snake Serpentes.
West African Gaboon Viper is easy to distinguish the female from the male by observing the length of the teeth in relation to the length of its entire body. The species are characterized by a large head which is triangular and a narrowed neck. There is presence of horns between the nostrils and it has large movable eyes. When it comes to the West African Gaboon Viper snakes appearance the species has pastel blotches and dark yellow markings. It has a pale belly, with spread out brown and black patches. The head of the West African Gaboon Viper snake is white or cream in color and it also has black spots on the end corners. The iris color has been categorized to orange, cream, silvery or yellow white.
The West African Gaboon Viper snakes are mostly nocturnal, spending the first six hours of the night hunting. Different from other vipers, the Gaboon Viper does not hiss and seldom bites. They lay silently on the ground waiting to make their killing and they only attack when they feel threatened. When the West African Gaboon Viper snake encounter a threatening situation, they hiss loudly in a deep and continuous rhythm. If the danger persists they strike at their adversary very fast and, therefore, one should be careful when handling it.
The feeding habits of the West African Gaboon Viper differ from other vipers in that they cling to their prey with their long fangs after attacking them till they die. The adults have the ability to swallowing fully grown rabbits without shredding them to pieces. The West African Gaboon Viper snake feed on mammals, rodents, birds, antelopes, Tree monkeys, rabbits, hares and brush tailed porcupine.
The mating season is usually an eventful and engaging period for the male West African Gaboon Viper. The males have to engage in a combat to get the chance to copulate with a female. The fight begins with one male approaching another and pressing its chin against its opponent. The opponent responds by raising its head off the ground. The necks of the two snakes are entwined as they raise their head and they start the combat by pushing each other. The combat continues with their bodies entwined and they only take a short period to relax if a winner has not yet emerged after some few hours. The West African Gaboon Viper that manages to push its opponents head to the ground while raising its own by 8 to 12 inches (20to 30 cm) is the winner. The gestation period is 7 months and the breeding cycle is two to three years. A female West African Gaboon Viper snake has the ability to produce up to 24 off springs at one birth.
The West African Gaboon Viper snake can be found in Kenya, Malawi, Ghana, Tanzania, south Sudan, Uganda, Gabon, Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria, Togo, Cameroon, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Guinea. The viper derives its name from one of the countries Gabon.