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Location, Hours & Directions

West African Gaboon Viper

West African Gaboon Viper

West African Gaboon Viper Fact Sheet

  • Latin Name

    Bitis gabonica rhinoceros
  • Class

    Reptiles
  • Order

    Squamata
  • Range

    The species ranges across West Africa and is found in Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
  • Status

    Listed as a species of Least Concern on IUCN Red List due to its widespread range.
  • Habitat

    West African gaboon vipers inhabit moist savannas, humid forests, and agricultural areas, and often take shelter in leaf litter of forest floor.
  • Niche

    They are also sedentary, usually lying perfectly still, blending in and waiting for prey to its cross path. Their diet consists primarily of small mammals, rodents, ground-dwelling birds, frogs and toads.
  • Life History

    Breeding season occurs during the rainy season in West Africa, usually September and December. Females will indicate to males when they are receptive, and then pairs can be seen swaying back and forth together. Females give birth to 13–15 live young after a seven-month gestation. The pair provides no parental care. The 11-inch-long young take care of themselves right after birth.
  • Special Adaptations

    To immobilize prey they inject toxic venom into the prey’s tissue through their fangs.

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2001 North Clark Street • Chicago, IL 60614 • 312-742-2000

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