Gaboon Viper

gaboon-viper

Size

This species reaches lengths of between 4 and 6 feet on average, with very few reaching lengths approaching 7 feet. However this is a very stocky snake which can weight more than 19 lbs, making it the worlds heaviest viper.

Habitat and Distribution

This snake lives in a vast range covering much of Central Africa including Cameroon, Guinea, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Northern South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Through this range it can be found in rain forests and various woodland areas.

Age

Approximately 18 years is the average lifespan of this species in the wild, however they are often recorded as living for 25 years or more in captivity.

Diet

The majority of their diet is made up of mammals and birds, being able to feed on animals as large as rabbits.

Groups and Breeding

The peak of the breeding season for this species is late summer with gestation lasting approximately 12 months. At the end of this the females can give birth to up to 60 live young. It is thought that on average the breeding cycle is around 3 years for each female, however in some cases they may only give birth once every 5 years.

Threats

This species has a wide distribution and is common throughout its range and as such is not considered to be vulnerable in the wild. they can often be found near stables and barns due to the abundance of rats and mice, and in such cases they are often killed out of fear of their very potent venom.

Interesting facts

At 2 inches in length the Gaboon Viper has the longest fangs of any venomous snake.