Thursday, 9 August 2012

Gaboon Viper Snakes

The Gaboon is Africa's largest viper. They are old world vipers that lack heat sensing pits that the pit vipers (such as Rattlesnakes) have. They have the longest fangs of any other venomous snake in the world, in an adult specimen, the fangs can measure up to 2" in length. They are also the second fastest striking snake in the world (The Boa Constrictor being the fastest) and the fastest striking venomous snake. So don't let their appearence of being a giant slug fool you, because they are VERY quick.
Gaboons are native to African rainforests. East and west central Africa. They are ambush predators and will sit motionless for long periods of time waiting for prey to pass. Their amazing coloration and pattern give the Gaboon perfect camouflage. You could be walking through the African rainforest, walk right past a big Gaboon and not even see it.
The Gaboons venom is a mix of hemo and neurotoxin. Being Africa's largest vipers, they have huge heads. Within those huge heads are massive fangs and venom glands (I mentioned earlier that they have the largest fangs of any other venomous snake). When they bite, they don't bite and release as would most other vipers. They will bite, raise their head, and hold. This is believed to be mainly feeding response to keep their prey from fighting and struggling. However, if a Gaboon bites a human like this (they will probably bite and release in a defesive response) it will not be pretty and will require IMMEDIATE medical attention. Having huge heads, massive venom glands, and up to 2" fangs, they can deliver massive amounts of venom in a single bite. The bite will also be very painful.
Gaboons are becoming more and more popular with reptile keepers everywhere. This isn't a good thing and could start seeing alot more bites if the keepers don't handle or keep their Gabbs properly. I DO NOT reccommend the keeping of ANY venomous reptile because one mistake can and will be your life. However, if you do decide to keep a Gabb (Don't do it!!!), Secure cages inside a specail, secure, lockable from the outside, snake room is a must. This room should have no windows, air ducts, or any other possible escape route incase the snake does find a way out of its cage. There are NO exceptions. Always handle you Gabbs with proper tools. Hooks and tongs are a must, Never free handle ANY venomous snake. This is very irresponsible and an easy way to the hospital. Trap boxes are never a bad idea. This allows you to secure the Gabb while its in the cage, safely move the snake outside the cage so you can clean the cage, change water, ect. Put the trap box back in the cage, open it with a hook, and close the cage with a hook.
I hope this gives you all alittle insight on the Gaboon viper. Again, if your thinking of keeping one, Don't do it!! Keeping any venomous reptile is very unforgiving and one mistake can and will be your life. Hope you all enjoyed reading!!

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