July 16, 2016
Gabbing About Gaboons
- as seen by -Michael Lieto
The Gaboon viper is not only the heaviest of all venomous snakes, it also has the longest fangs in the snake world reaching a whopping two inches long.
These snakes can reach four to seven feet in length and are easily identified by their massive size and triangle-shaped head the size of a teacup saucer. Their stunning body pattern is designed for blending into the leaf litter on the forest floor.
This species can be found in tropical rainforests throughout equatorial Africa. Like most viper species, gaboons are ambush predators that employ sit-and-wait tactics to feed. The extreme toxicity of their venom ensures their meal does not get very far before being consumed. Interestingly, they can store up to 20 percent of their body mass as feces in the gut to be used as an anchor when striking at unsuspecting prey. Unlike many other snakes, gaboon vipers do not lay eggs and instead give birth to up to 25 live young at one time.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Today is World Snake Day. Find out more about snakes by visiting the Bronx Zoo’s World of Reptiles.