Though the South American Bushmaster is longer, the Gaboon viper is heavier. Pit vipers have specialized sensory organs near the nostrils called heat sensing pits. Expert Recommendations. Almost all vipers have ridged scales, a well built body with a short tail and, to make room for the venom glands, a triangular-shaped head. For other uses, see Viper disambiguation. Vipers are a large family of snakes; the scientific name is Viperidae. The Viperidae vipers are a family of venomous snakes found in most parts of the world, with the exception of Antarctica, Australia, Hawaii, Madagascar, various other isolated islands, and north of the Arctic Circle. Death from elapid bites usually results from asphyxiation because the diaphragm can no longer contract. Some even range into the Arctic Circle. Vipers will make a meal of most small mammals that cross their paths, as long as the size is right.
Vipers are poisonous snakes characterized by hinged fangs and powerful venom. The viper family contains many different types of snakes, including multiple rattlesnake species, the copperhead snake, the African bush viper, the jararaca and the cottonmouth. Vipers tend to eat what they can catch, but the specifics of their diets depend on where they live, how big the individual snake is and the relative size of the prey. Rodents are a common prey for vipers. Very small vipers, usually youngsters, prey on newborn mice or rodents who are still quite little — the prey must be small enough for the snake to swallow. Snakes such as the Gaboon viper, Bitis gabonica, hide among the leaves on the forest floor and wait for rodents to get close enough, then strike and kill with lightening speed. Vipers will make a meal of most small mammals that cross their paths, as long as the size is right. They commonly eat rabbits, bats, shrews and moles.
The Gaboon viper is a large venomous snake found in Sub-Saharan Africa. It has the longest fangs up to 5 cm and the highest venom yield of any snake. The head is large and triangular, while the neck is greatly narrowed. A pair of “horns” is present between the raised nostrils. The eyes are large and moveable. The color pattern consists of a series of pale, subrectangular blotches running down the center of the back, interspaced with dark, yellow-edged, hourglass markings. The flanks have a series of fawn or brown rhomboidal shapes, with light vertical central bars. The belly is pale with irregular brown or black blotches. The head is white or cream with a fine, dark central line, black spots on the rear corners, and a dark blue-black triangle behind and below each eye.
Vipers are a large family of snakes; the scientific name is Viperidae. They are found all over the world, with the exceptions of Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, north of the Arctic Circle and island clusters such as Hawaii. The family Viperidae includes adders, pit vipers like rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and copperheads, the Gaboon viper, green vipers and horned vipers.