Shaba bush viper

Atheris katangensis

Common names: Shaba bush viper, Katanga Mountain bush viper, more.
Atheris katangensis is a venomous viper species endemic to DR Congo. Found only in a limited area in the east of the country. No subspecies are currently recognized.


Attains a maximum length of only 40 cm, making this the smallest member of the genus Atheris.

The head is flat, triangular, distinct from the neck and covered with small keeled scales. The snout is rounded. Midbody there are 24-31 rows of dorsal scales. The tail is short. Males and females have 45-59 and 38-42 subcaudal scales respectively.

The color pattern consists of a purple-brown or yellow-brown ground color, overlaid with paired dorsolateral lines of a contrasting shade. These lines may break into a zigzag pattern and run from head to tail. The belly is yellowish, as it the tip of the tail.

Common names

Shaba bush viper, Katanga Mountain bush viper, Upemba bush viper, Katanga bush viper, Katanga tree viper.

Geographic range

Restricted to Upemba National Park, Shaba Province in eastern DR Congo. The type locality given is "Mubale-Munte (région du confluent), sous-affluent st de la rive droite de la Lufira [alt. 1480], Park National de l'Upemba."


Gallery forest along rivers at altitudes between 1200 and 1500 meters.

See also


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