The Rhinoceros Horned Viper (Bitis nasicornis) is a venomous snake from West Africa and Central Africa. It is also called a Horned Puff Adder.
The Rhinoceros Horned Viper has a narrow, flat, triangular head with a distinctive set of two or three horn-like scales on the end of its nose. The front pair of horns is quite long. Its eyes are small and are in a forward position on its head. Its fangs are small, about 1.5 centimetres (half an inch) long.
The Rhinoceros Horned Viper has about 15-18 blue-green oblong markings, each with a light yeloow line in the centre. There are also irregular black blotches or dark crimson triangles on its side. The top of its head is blue or green, with a distinct black arrow mark.
It can grow to 72-107 centimetres (28-42 inches) long.
It prefers forested areas, and is mainly nocturnal. It hides in leaf litter during the day. It is terrestrial (living on the ground), but it will occasionally climb trees. They are also good swimmers.
It is slow moving, but capable of striking quickly, forwards or sideways, without coiling first or giving a warning. It hunts its prey by ambush. It lies motionless, waiting for prey to walk nearby, and then it strikes, sinking its fangs into the animal’s skin. It fees mainly on small mammals.
The Rhinoceros Horned Viper gives birth to 6-38 live young snakelets.
It is deadly to humans.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM