Unveiling the Deadly Master of Disguise – The Gaboon Viper

The previous year, a man residing in North Carolina managed to survive an encounter with a gaboon viper that he housed in his residence. The medical team that attended to him expressed astonishment as they had not witnessed anyone else pull through such a lethal snake bite. Remarkably, the gaboon viper ranks among the most poisonous snakes globally, necessitating the victim to receive 44 doses of anti-venom for recovery, the highest amount ever administered by the overseeing experts. Although he did lose two fingers during the ordeal, there were no other adverse effects noted.

Gaboon Viper: Among the Most Toxic Serpents on Earth

Despite their potentially fatal bites, gaboon vipers are generally known for their composed nature and infrequent tendency to bite humans. This is fortunate as they possess the lengthiest fangs of all venomous snakes, measuring at 2 inches (5 centimeters). Originating from Africa, they also hold the title of being the largest vipers, reaching lengths exceeding 6 feet (1.8 meters) and weights surpassing 45 pounds (20 kilograms). The most massive specimens may boast heads nearly 6 inches (15 centimeters) in width.

They live in rainforests and wet areas all over Africa, slithering over the forest floor to hunt. They usually eat small or medium-sized mammals and birds. But they are not active hunters. Rather, they wait in hiding, taking advantage of their natural brown, prink, purple-patterned stripes and diamonds to camouflage with their surroundings. Their unique patterns can resemble fallen leaves, letting them hide among scattered leaves on the ground. When prey come within range, the viper strikes and holds it until it dies.

The rare times they bite humans usually occur when the snakes are stepped on before they can escape. If they feel threatened, they will lift their heads and hiss threateningly before they would strike. They hunt by themselves and at night, being most active around sunset.

The vipers can also control how much venom gets injected into its victim, so some bites can have no effect while others cause a hasty death. When they are particularly hungry, they can attack almost any movement, another instance where they might accidentally attack a human. And while most snakes lay eggs, these vipers reproduce by giving birth, often to 50 to 60 babies at once. They also can have a relatively long lifespan, living for about 20 years.

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