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Habitat for the Gaboon Viper Snake

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Whether you have a fear of snakes or not, the Gaboon viper (Bitis gabonica) is one that you definitely want to avoid. Not only are these African snakes venomous, their bites can actually bring upon life-threatening consequences -- not pleasant at all. Gaboon vipers reside in locations all throughout the sub-Saharan region of Africa.

Geographic Location

The Gaboon viber is prevalent in many different parts of Africa, including the rainforests of the continent's western, central and eastern regions. Gaboon vipers are very common in areas beside the equatorial belt, as well.

Natural Habitat

The natural habitat for the Gaboon viper snake is dense and tropical rainforest. Gaboon vipers frequent damp regions and rainforests all throughout Africa. In rainforests, these vipers spend their time either on or close to the ground. Some of them also live on the edges of forests. These nocturnal and poisonous creatures typically gravitate toward areas that are dark. Oftentimes, these snakes hide away under foliage litter on the ground. Some Gaboon vipers also live in open rural settings. Gaboon vipers typically prefer lower altitudes, but occasionally appear at altitudes of more than 4,900 feet.


Gaboon vipers spend a good portion of their time on the ground. When sunset hits every evening, these snakes typically emerge from their dark hiding spots to begin the search for prey. The ambush predators remain on the ground motionless, just waiting for the next unsuspecting passerby so that they can make their move using their fangs and venom. The patterned snakes blend in seamlessly with the foliage covering and surrounding them. Gaboon vipers appear in a wide array of different colors and color schemes, including beige, pink, yellow and brown.

Other Habitats

Gaboon vipers do not only exist in rainforest habitats. Other relatively common settings for these large snakes include savannas, montane forests, thickets, coastal woodlands, evergreen forest, dunes, dense grasslands, agricultural sites and swamps. Gaboon vipers often are found in agricultural areas that are not far from forests. In the nighttime, the snakes are also a common sight on roads.