classification
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Viperinae
Genus: Bitis
Species: B. gabonica

GABOON VIPER - Bitis gabonica rhinoceros

The Gaboon viper - Bitis gabonica rhinoceros is a magnificent but highly venomous snake from the viperidae family. Native to western Africa, the Gaboon viper ranges from Guinea to Togo and can be found from sea level up to 1,520 m in elevation. It is a nocturnal snake capable of growing up to 2 metres in length and is most often found in moist Guinean savanna, humid forest and anthropogenic habitats.

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The Gaboon viper holds a number of records to its name. It has the longest fangs of any venomous snake in the world at a length of between 2.5 - 4 cm. It also has enormous venom glands which produce the largest quantity of venom of any snake alive today. It is the heaviest snake in the viperidae family and is in fact the heaviest venomous snake in the whole of Africa. Females are generally larger, and heavier than the males with weights of over 8 kg being recorded.

The Gaboon viper has a large and distinctive triangular-shaped head with a distinctive set of enlarged nasal scales that look like a pair of horns on its nose. There is also a distinctive dark triangle behind and below each eye. They are well camouflaged by leaf litter and spend long periods of time motionless, waiting for suitable prey to come within striking distance.

They are for the most part ambush predators and feed on a variety of small mammals and birds. Prey items include different species of rodents as well as hares and rabbits. 

Mating usually begins during the rainy season commencing with males engaging in ritualized combat. The event is settled when one of the two males becomes too exhausted to continue. The dominant male will mate with the female.The gestation period is from seven months up to one year. Female Gaboon vipers give birth to live young with litter sizes ranging between 15 - 47 infants although litters as large as 63 have been recorded.

For related articles click onto the following links:

The Piebald Ball Python   PANDA PIED BALL PYTHON

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About the Author

The 'Seeds of Eaden' website is the brainchild of professional horticulturist and multi-award winning gardener Simon Eade. After six years of study; two years 'Retail Horticulture' at Hadlow College, then four years Commercial Horticulture at Greenwich University, Simon has worked in a number of 'fields' within the industry for over twenty years. Most notably, managing the prestigious Alexandra Palace garden centre in London. Since then he has become an internationally published writer, and author of the popular 'Garden of Eaden' blog.

Simon Eade is also a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Banksian medal

You can contact the 'Seeds of Eaden' at gardenofeaden@gmail.com