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Bitis gabonica

Geographical locale

  • Found along the equatorial belt of Africa, East & Central Africa and Eastern Southern Africa.


  • The Gaboon Viper is the largest viper in Africa, reaching lengths of up to 6' and weighing more than 20kgs in some instances.
  • Large triangularhead tapering into a narrow neck.
  • A pair of ‘horns’ are located between their raised nostrils.
  • Has a distinctive brown stripe on its pale head.
  • Body colour is pale with brown, beige and yellow markings allowing for easy camouflage.


  • Cytotoxic – cell destroying – and delivered in large quantities due to the size of its venom glands and length of its fangs.
  • Delivers the venom deep in to the wound.

The Bite

  • Two puncture marks at wound site.


  • Viviparous – gives birth to live young and up to 30 at a time.
  • Gestation period about 7 months.
  • Newly born Gaboon Vipers are about 11 3/4" long.


  • Favoured habitat is rain forests and woodlands on the edge of the rainforests.
  • Largely nocturnal.
  • Extremely docile, solitary snake.
  • Diet consists mainly of birds and mammals but will also eat insects and rodents.
  • Generally ambushes its prey rather than actively hunts it.
  • Unlikely to attack unless seriously provoked.

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