Top 10 Common Bush Viper Facts – The Snake that Looks like a Dragon?

Quick Facts

Scientific Name: Atheris Squamigera

Common Names: African Bush Viper, Leaf viper, Variable Bush Viper, Green Bush Viper, Common Bush Viper

Geographic Range: West and Central Africa

Life Span: 10 – 20 years, possibly longer in captivity

Conservation Status: Least Concern

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Top 10 List

1. Ambush Predator

     Common Bush Vipers are an ambush predator. They lay in wait, and once their prey gets close enough they attack, injecting their venom to subdue their prey.

2. Prehensile Tails

     These vipers have strong, prehensile tails. Their tails are able to support their entire body weight while they are suspended from a branch or twig.

3. Living in the Rainforest

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     Bush Vipers most common home is in the rainforests throughout parts of Africa, where the thick vegetation they prefer is plentiful

4. Breeding in Captivity

Babies born at the Houston Zoo
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     Breeding Common Bush Vipers in captivity has been done before successfully when the proper requirements and high humidity was achieved.

5. Few Predators

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     These lucky snakes have few predators out it the wild. The two main predators for the bush viper are other snakes, or humans. They are sometimes captured for food by humans, but only when they encroach on fishing or agricultural activities.

6. Nocturnal

     They spend most of their days lounging up in the vegetation since they are arboreal snakes, and sometimes soak up the sun, while moving lower down to hunt during the night.

7. Deadly Venom

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     Bush vipers are severely venomous, and a bite from them is potentially lethal. Side effects from the venom can include: local pain, swelling, fevers, bruising and blistering. Best to leave these feisty snakes alone!

8. Variety of Colors

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     While the majority of Bush Vipers are a green/olive colour that helps it camouflage in it’s surroundings, some populations have been know to include stunning bright colors such as: blue, yellow, orange, red, and slate grey.

9. Scales That Look Life Leaves

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     Common Bush Vipers have keeled scales that stick up, that often look like little leaves. These scales are one of the most defining features for the Common Bush Viper, making it easy to tell the difference between it and other snakes. Some people say it also makes the snake look dragon-like. Pretty cool!

10. Live Birth

     Unlike many reptiles in across the globe, Common Bush Vipers actually give birth to live young, and not eggs. The mother carries the babies inside her for 2 months, after which she births her young and abandons them immediately after.

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