What Are Some Rhinoceros Viper Facts?


Quick Answer

Rhinoceros vipers, which are known to scientists as Bitis nasicornis, are sedentary pit vipers that hail from the forests of central Africa. These snakes are primarily associated with forest pools and low-lying areas that are subject to frequent floods. Rhinoceros vipers are “true vipers” that lack the facial pits common to the pit vipers of North America and Asia.

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Full Answer

Rhinoceros vipers are clad in green, blue, black and red colors, which help the snakes to camouflage very effectively in the dappled light of the forest floor. Primarily ambush hunters, rhinoceros vipers primarily hunt mice and rats; they also eat frogs, fish or lizards when the opportunity arises. Prey is killed via the snakes’ hemotoxic venom, which is delivered via two large, folding fangs that are located in the front of their mouths.

Rhinoceros vipers are generally calm snakes that are unlikely to bite unless they feel threatened or handled. They primarily rely on their camouflage to avoid predators. When frightened, the snakes emit a very loud hiss in an attempt to dissuade the perceived predator from attacking.

Rhinoceros vipers don't lay eggs; instead, they produce live young. A prolific species, some litters contain as many as 35 young. The newborn snakes look like small versions of the adults, and they are equipped with fangs and venom from the beginning.

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