• The 24-36 inch copperhead is responsible for approx. 35 % of all venomous bites in USA. Read More
  • Cottonmouth snakes forage by ambushing their prey, and will avoid humans at all costs. Read More
  • The average death rate from krait bites in Asia is 7 %. It is highly feared in India. Read More
  • The puff adder can strike with lightning speed and most of its victims are from Africa. Read More
  • Cobra's are the largest and deadliest snakes in the world. Read More
  • Known by its triangular head. The venom from the Russel's viper causes renal failure within hours.
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  • The coral snake is not as dangerous as people think and fatalities are uncommon.
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  • The gaboon is a rather calm snake, but deaths from its venom occur fast.
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  • Lancehead snakes accounts for approx. 90 % of all snake envenomations in South America.
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  • The rattlesnakes rattle is composed of scales. Amputations from its bite are common.
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  • The taipan snake has the lowest LD50-value of all snakes. 0.030 mg/kg can kill 50 people.
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  • Bushmasters are the largest vipers and lengths of 6 feet are common.
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  • The black mamba is largest and deadliest snake of Africa. Most, but not all, survive its bite.
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  • Fangs of sea snakes are mostly to short to penetrate human skin. Related to Cobras!
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  • Tiger snakes are roaming around Australia, including islands such as Tasmania.
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  • The death adder can attract prey by wiggling its tail. Its venom is slow to take effect.
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  • The boomslang is long and slender perfectly camouflaged African snake.
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  • Burrowings asps have the longest fangs relative to their head size of any snakes.
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  • The Moorish viper is the largest viper in Africa. It has a zig-zag pattern on its body.
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  • The horned viper is a typical ambusher. Usually, its bite is not deadly.
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  • The night adder is responsible for most venomous snake bites in Africa - it is not deadly.
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  • The most common types of antivenom and how it is produced and used.
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  • Read about people who has survived snake bites and see how bites affected them.
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  • See annotated videos of venomous snakes from around the world.
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  • See annotated images of venomous snakes from around the world.
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  • How did snakes evolve and how is the geological record of snakes.
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  • See a top 5 list of the most venomous snakes in the world.
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Drawings are ©

Gaboon Viper - 15 minutes to find antivenom

By Anders Nielsen, Ph.d.

Gaboon Vipers are found in savannas, forest next to savannas and rainforests. It can only be found in a confined region south of Sahara. It is a heavy and strong snake (4-5 feet) capable of delivering a large dose of venom. Its fangs are approx. 2 inches long. It has a narrow neck and a very characteristic triangular head.

The action starts one minute into the video

Links: Krait



Bites, venom and effects

The Gaboon Viper is indeed venomous. However, it is a rather calm snake, so most bites occur when people step on them. Bites can be fatal. Besides normal symptoms such as swelling, fewer, convulsions and unconsciousness, blistering is quite common. Most bites occur out in the jungle where the access to antivenin may be poor.

Last 15 minutes of a Monkeys Life

In a study in the journal Primates (Foerster, 2008), the last 15 minutes of a monkeys life after a Gaboon bite was closely monitored went like this:

15 minutes before its death, the monkey sat up but with its head hanging down. It was close to slump forward several times, but managed to push itself back.

During these minutes it convulsed without paying attention to the observer. During the last two to three minutes of its life, the monkey lay down and its breathig became very shallow until its death occurred.

Links: Cobra

Puff adder

Russel's viper

Diet & Prey Selection

According to a study in the South African Journal of Wildlife (Perrin & Bodbijl 2001), Gaboon Viper diet consists of mammals and birds almost entirely.

The distribution of the two food sources is shown to the right. The larger the Gaboon Snake, the more of its diet would be from rodents (mammals).

The study also showed that the mammals eaten had a size of less than 20 percent of the snakes own weight, and that juvenile snakes had a liking for shrews.

Links: Gaboon

Coral snake


Reproduction and Juvenile Gaboon's

A note from Chicago Zoological Park from 1949 in the magazine "Copeia" describes a typical birth of juvenile Gaboon snakes and the first period of their lives.

26 out of 27 born snakes were healthy. 6 were born before parturition, or labor, was observed. Snake seven and eight were born with approximately 30 minutes between them. They remained in their egg membrane for about 30 seconds before rupturing it. The juvenile snakes had an average length of almost one feet.

Eight days after birth seven small mice was fed to the juvenile snakes. The mice were attacked immediately without further investigation of the prey. A few days later some newborn rats were fed to the young Gaboon Vipers. A few of the relatively small snakes did not want to eat the rats, but others did. Two daus later, all Gaboon Vipers had no problems in eating new born rats.

At some point two of the Gaboon Vipers had to be separated due to a fight over a mouse one of the Gaboons wanted to take from another Gaboon.


Perrin MR, Bodbijl T, Diet and prey selection of the gaboon adder in Zululand (KwaZulu-Natal), South Africa South African Journal of Wildlife Research 31(3-4) pp. 127-134 (2001)
Snedigar R and Rokosky EJ, NOTES ON NEW-BORN GABOON VIPERS Copeia (1949)
Foerster S, Two incidents of venomous snakebite on juvenile blue and Sykes monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis stuhlmanni and C. m. albogularis) Primates 49 pp. 300-303 (2008)

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