It has several different names, and also is rather the significant looking snake. In fact, it’s one of my all time favorite snakes.

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Mostly due to the fact that it’s so distinct looking. It’s actually one of the most distinct snakes in the world, offered it’s ‘hairy’ look.

The African bush viper (Atheris hispida) is a poisonous reptile varieties located in east and central Africa.


It is a small to medium-sized viper through a rough-looking appearance caused by the keeled dorsal scales. The goes by several other names including the spiny bush viper, the stormy scaled viper, and hairy shrub viper.

The African bush viper is both arboreal and terrestrial, an interpretation it thrives both ~ above the ground and also trees. As soon as on the ground, the African shrub viper seeks thick vegetation to remain hidden.

During the early on morning, it might be watched hanging off the tree limbs basking in the sun. Because that the most part, the African bush viper is a solitary animal.

But, don’t it is in fooled through it’s cuteness and smallness. African shrub Vipers are exceptionally venomous, and also could pack a life-ending blow if bitten.

Nevertheless, this post covers the types in depth.

From location, diet, come 8 stunning photos of the Hairy bush viper, we’ve covered it all.

Table the Contents

What is the Habitat that the Spiny bush Viper?

The African bush viper habitat is in central and east Africa; namely the southern part of Uganda, northern and eastern Congo, western Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Northern Tanzania.

The line thrives in the thick humid and also wet forested areas in this countries.

Depending top top the season the snake might be found at varying altitudes.

During the dried season, the Spiny bush viper prefers the lowlands but during the merganser season (May come August), that prefers the high grounds.

Where come Look if You desire to uncover One

The African bush viper is a nocturnal reptile.

During the work time, it commonly hides in ravines or the deep grass. However, early in the morning, the basks along the tree branches.

The line is a versatile tree climber and it regularly hangs indigenous the tree branches and also vines, waiting for prey to happen by.

Besides being an agile climber, the African shrub viper is likewise able come maneuver itself with stealth ~ above the ground.

Color, Size, and Attributes

The Hairy shrub viper is a well-built snake v a certain muscular body and also an external surface v strongly keeled scales. Also, it’s among the most distinct looking line on planet earth.


The head is covered with tiny keeled scales. This is a distinct feature that this viper. Their color varies from environment-friendly to yellowish, which permits the line to hide in the bordering vegetation.

Very couple of snakes have keeled scales like this species. That, coupled through the riveting colors of this snake make it a true specimen.

So, how huge do Spiny shrub Vipers get?

The reptile will thrive to a size of about 24-36 inches v the females slightly much longer by a couple of inches compared to the males. This is usual with most species — the females being larger, that is.

The head is triangular and its eyes are big and oval, which makes it easier for the snake to check out in the thick thick forest. The spade-shaped head is generally found in venomous snakes, particularly vipers.

It’s a dead giveaway once identifying a awful snake, though some nonvenomous snakes have triangular shaped heads too.

The challenge reveals a prominent brief snout in many males. Unlike other vipers, the eyes room oval, large, and also surrounded by at least a dozen circumorbital scales.

Even the spacing in between the eyes is separated by 6-9 scales. The sleep is a small slit and also again be separated by a row of scale from the eyes.


The two fangs are situated in the top jaw and also are associated to the venomous gland in the upper jaw. The retractable fangs become prominent once the mouth is open and shift posteriorly when the mouth is closed.

Like numerous snakes, the is heterothermic meaning it can switch between homeothermic and also poikilothermic status depending upon the climate and also its metabolic activity.

Unlike other vipers, the Spiny shrub viper does not have heat-sensing pits but rather relies ~ above vision, olfactory, and also vibratory senses come detect prey. Castle actually have quite good vision.

How lengthy Do lock Live?

The documentation the the African bush viper lifespan is poor. Reports indicate that most vipers will certainly live in between 10-12 years but due to the fact that of predation and disease, most have actually a shorter life span.

Afterall, there’s no shortage of predators in the locations they favor to call home.

Besides humans, other predators the the viper incorporate other snakes, birds, and also larger fish.

In captivity, the reptile is well-known to live 15-20 years because there is no threat of predation.

How huge Do Hairy shrub Vipers Grow?

The totally grown adult shrub viper will prosper to a length of about 24-36 inches. The females have tendency to be slimmer and a couple of inches longer.

How Venomous space African shrub Vipers?

Despite its reasonably small size, the African bush viper carries a punch through its bite.


While considerable studies ~ above its venom have not been done, part studies indicate that the gift is primarily neurotoxic- definition it damages the nerves.

Besides, the venom also causes comprehensive internal bleeding, causing rapid death.That’s a nice terrible means to go, whether your this snake dinner or a human.

Unfortunately, this snakes room common among the exotic, and also sometimes black industry pet trade. This is mostly because of their distinctive looks.

If you’re considering buying one of these together a pet, it is in warned. They deserve to kill you. There space plenty of other pet line to take into consideration if you want to own one.

African shrub Viper Bite

The bite and also venom the the African shrub viper has actually not been well studied. But it is reported that its gift is mainly neurotoxic- meaning it deserve to paralyze the nerves.

The potency of the gift does differ a great deal dependent on where the varieties is located, that is size, weather, and altitude.

Basically, gaining bitten by an African bush Viper is going to be a really poor time.

It will certainly be supervisor painful, and potentially life threatening.

The line is usually not aggressive, but will stand that ground once threatened.


So, if you check out one in the wild or in captivity, don’t acquire too close.

The African bush viper is a deadly snake for humans.

The exact number of African shrub viper bites to people is no known, however the numbers room not minuscule.

Most bites occur when human being unsuspectingly walk into forested areas where the snake stays or stamp on the reptile.

Without treatment, a bite indigenous the African bush viper is typically fatal.

Because that its lethality, over there is one antivenom easily accessible in part African hospitals.

African shrub Viper Behavior

The African bush viper like most other vipers is a nocturnal creature. and also like its other related species, it ambushes the prey. In bespeak to capture the prey, it will lay in wait for a long period of time.


Once the sees the prey within range, it makes a really quick strike and also within a minute the food is dead.

For the most part, the African shrub viper is a solitary pet except during mating.

To get around and also see prey, the reptile offers its vision but it likewise has highly occurred olfactory and tactile senses.

If cornered or threatened, it will certainly assume a strike position with the upper part of its body extended above ground.

It will certainly make a threatening posture towards larger predators and is not shy about striking. When completing for a female, the masculine will shot and do himself bigger by lifting the human body upright.

Natural Habitat and Environment

The African shrub viper has actually a vast habitat ranging from the sea level forests, dense woods, and also knee-high vegetation in the foothills and lowlands of the mountain forests.


The line prefers to inhabit vines, short branches, and also shrubs, where it have the right to seek food and additionally hide from other predators.

To prevent predation, the African shrub viper uses camouflage to blend in v the environment. This permits it not only to hide but likewise to surprise its potential prey.

The young African bush vipers have a different skin color compared to adults. This serves together a warning sign to other threatening animals.

Spiny Viper Diet and Eating Habits

Like all vipers, the African shrub viper hunts and eats live prey. The African bush viper feeds top top small mammals, lizards, amphibians, shrews, birds, and also even various other smaller snakes.

While it normally hunts for prey while in trees, it will certainly also actively seek prey while top top the ground. In fact, the African bush viper will additionally prey upon its very own kind.

The line swallows the dead food after that injects the victim v venom. The venom paralyzes and also kills quickly, however it’s definitely not a pleasant death for the unfortunate victims.

How they Hunt

To tempt prey the snake will sometimes use that is colored scales on the tail to lure in unknowing critters.

However, as the snake matures, the coloration of the scales becomes an ext uniform, and also luring food via this technique does no work.

n many cases, the adult snake ambushes the prey through a high success rate.


Most preys are not may be to gain away from the african viper strike, which is lightning fast.

Yet another reason to be wary when close to these fatal vipers. The to win can happen in a blink of one eye, and also they can strike around the street of their entire body.

Reproduction and Mating

The complete mating cycle of the reptile is no known but one attribute is known, this vipers are seasonally monogamous.

Females perform not mate until they are nearly 3-4 years old however males start to mate after 24 months.

The courtship is a nocturnal activity. Throughout the mating process, the male will interact with miscellaneous body gestures which may even include biting and rubbing.

The mrs will just reproduce when a year, usually during the wet season (May to August). The mrs African shrub viper will carry the unborn young within her abdomen.

The gestation duration is about 2 months after i beg your pardon she will offer birth come 2-12 live younglings. The newborns measure up 4-6 inches in length and also have all the attributes of the adult viper except the size.

However, after ~ delivery, the female viper abandons the offspring immediately.

Since the neonate vipers space venomous, even at birth they are able come survive individually but few make it come maturity.

The development of the baby shrub viper is initially fast yet as the snake ideologies 24 months, the expansion slows down.

Are African shrub Vipers great Pet Snakes?

It is no usually kept as a pet. This because of its venomous and unpredictable.

However, you can sometimes discover a few of the line in miscellaneous zoos.

Even still, some human being do favor to very own dangerous snakes as pets.

Heck, girlfriend can also buy a viper ~ above

For those that decide to store this reptile as a pet, one must provide the exact same tropical humid climate the the reptile is familiar with.

Plus, there need to be no deteriorate on safety; a heavy lid through a lock is vital to ensure the the line does no escape.

Just remember, this is a really dangerous animal. It’s best practice come not own one in ~ all. And if girlfriend do, be sure to store it in a separate structure other than your main dwelling.

People who have youngsters should not have this snake for a pet.

It’s far far better to opt into a much less dangerous, much more friendly, nonvenomous snake.

Role in the Ecosystem

The snake plays a an important role in the ecosystem by controlling the number of rodents and limiting the spread out of disease.

Humans execute not generally come into contact with the reptile unless they endeavor into that is habitat.

One factor the snake is learned is for the creation of antivenom.

The snake all at once is not a hazard to human beings as it does not endeavor out that its countryside habitat. In fact, human beings kill the viper out of insignificant fear.

If the snake is permit alone, it will not assault humans. The prefers solitude and passivity.

In the lengthy run, the line helps manage infestation by assorted mammals consisting of rodents.

Conservation and also Threats

The African shrub viper is no a threatened varieties but its number have declined over the previous several decades.

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The prime factor for the to decrease in numbers contains urbanization, deforestation, and also human killings.