This form of viper is found most commonly in rainforests and savannah regions of Sub Saharan Africa. The main regions this viper can be found stretch from the coasts of Sierra Leone, along the southern coasts of neighbouring countries to the east and down into the rainforest regions of the DRC and Republic of Congo as well as Gabon. It can be also found in the northern regions of Zambia, and occasionally along more coastal regions of Tanzania, parts of extreme southern Malawi, through north western areas of Mozambique and occasionally into Zimbabwe. It can also be found in the very north eastern regions along the coast in South Africa. The viper prefers low altitude rainforests and woodlands. The typical altitude which it can be found is around 2100 meters. They can be found in agricultural lands including coffee plantations, cashew plantations, and other crops. It likes thickets and grasslands. It’s not uncommon for them to be found on roads at night. The typical size of the Gaboon Viper is around 4-5 feet in length and they are considered the heaviest of its species, often weighing in around 10 kilos, sometimes more. The snakeskin is typically marked with hourglass figures interspersed with rectangular markings. Colours vary in shades of browns and yellows throughout. Gaboon vipers are known for their slow pace, sluggish nature and they are notoriously docile compared to other varieties of venomous snake. While handling them is not recommended, they can be handled easily with care and attention. Like most other species of snakes during courtship and mating the males will engage in combats with other males which is more akin to a wrestling match than any actual fighting. The combat includes intertwining their bodies and squeezing so hard that the scales of the other may stick out. Gestation period is 7 months, and it’s been estimated that breeding cycles can be between 2-5 years. Snake bites are not overly common due to the docile nature of the species, but the venom can prove deadly. Symptoms of the bite can include shock, swelling of eyelids and tongue, convulsions and unconsciousness.
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