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Gaboon viper

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Gaboon viper
Gaboon viper.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Bitis gabonica

East African Gaboon Viper.jpg

The Gaboon Viper is a species of viper known by the scientific name Bitis gabonica. It is very well known for its giant fangs at 2 inches long. The creatures have been known for there extraordinary camouflage with there leaf shaped heads. They bury themselves amongst the leaves with their head sticking out. They can kill small rodents and creatures with powerful venom instantly but with the bigger animals it has to chase down after biting it.

Anatomy

2 inch fang of the Gaboon Viper

The Gaboon Viper head is shaped like a leaf. It also has two nostrils that com up off its head that are shaped like horns.[1] its skin color ranges any were between the pinks and purples and browns color.[2] the colors on there skin and the rectangular patterned skin markings give it the look of leaves on the forest floor. They have 2 inch fangs. they have the biggest fangs in the world. [3] They are the heaviest venomous snake in Africa. They weigh up to 18 pounds and get up to 17 feet long.

Reproduction

The Gaboon viper reproduces every three years. The males fight each other when they are ready to reproduce. They do this by one coming up to each other and rubbing his chin on the others back. When doing so the other raises his head as high as possible the other does the same. Once this is done they fight. They will wrap around each other and squeeze and once in a while snap at each other with closed mouths. The fight is decided when the loser get his head shoved to the ground and the winner holds his head higher then the other.They only reproduce in the rainy season in Africa which is around September through December.[4] When they are ready to reproduce the female gets very restless and she will lift her tale, she will also sway back in forth. They have a 7 month gestation period. When they do reproduce they give live birth to 30 - 40 young and when they are born they are 30cm long.

Ecology

Range map

The Gaboon Viper is normally found laying around on the African Rain forest floors.[5] It camouflages with the leaves on the forest floors. Its head is in the shape and color as the leaves lying down on the forest floor. They like to lie in the path ways of there prey for an easy take down. The smaller prey when attacked will die instantly, while bigger prey will run off and die shortly after and will be tracked down by scent. It will eat anything it can possibly swallow. This can be anywhere between mice to large mammals that come near it. It is a nocturnal hunter. This animal can be found in the Central African Republic, Western Africa, and southern Africa

Venom

The Gaboon Vipers Venom is very deadly. It has the longest fangs in the world at 2 inches long. The Gaboon Viper Venom contains two proteins know as hemorrhagins. These Proteins cause the blood vessels to spill there continents into the surrounding tissues. It also destroys the victim’s blood ability to clot which then cause severs muscle and tissue damage. The large proteins make there way through the Blood stream very slowly which cause lots of pain to the victim. This also causes blood to come through the fang bite holes. the venom will eventually make its way through the body to far away parts and it will then attack distant organs and cause spontaneous hemorrhages to these organs.[6] Antivenom is the only way to treat a Gaboons bite and most other venomous snakes, and it only works if the victim is given it at a certain time. Snake antivenom is made using venom from other snakes. At snake milking facilities. The scientist will get venom and inject horse’s sheep or rabbits. If given in the right amounts the animal’s immune system will make antibodies to fight it off. Then the snake milkers will remove the the antibodies that fought off the venom in the horses and use it for humans. If you wait to long to give the victim the antivenom then the victim will die. Normally the snake venom must be given to the victim with in 4-5 hours of the bite. Snake bites are rare to humans though with there being only 500 in the whole world

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References