|Venomous Snakes Of Africa
The Boomslang is found in sub-Saharan Africa. This snake varies in color
from green to
brown and is found in
forested areas. The Boomslang spends much of it's time in trees or
bushes. This snake is considered to be timid but will bite if harassed.
It's venom is considered to be very potent. It's name means "tree
Viper: Found in most of Africa, particularly the central region. The
Bush Viper or Leaf viper can be found in trees, on low hanging branches
and bushes as well as on the ground. They inhabit tropical Rainforest
and swamps and woodlands. Bites from this snake are rare because of it's
Read this note if going
remote central Africa.
Cobra: Sometimes called an Asp. The Egyptian Cobra can grow to eight
feet in length. When agitated the front part of it's body rises from the
ground and it spreads it's hood, just below the head. This Cobra is
responsible for many deaths. It's Neurotoxic venom can cause paralysis
and death within 15 minutes. Colors range from grey, yellow to brown and
black. Some Cobras can spray their venom into the eyes of their prey,
for close to seven feet, causing permanent blindness. Often hisses
loudly as a warning. The sight of this snake standing erect can stop
elephants in their tracks. The Egyptian Cobra can be found in most any
location of it's range and is even found in and around homes. Range
includes almost all of Africa and much of the Middle East.
Viper: The Gaboon Viper resides in sub-Saharan Africa. The Gaboon
viper is a fairly docile snake, but it's poison is very dangerous. Any
bite by this snake is a medical emergency. Nocturnal by nature, these
snakes can be found in dense forest, near by grasslands or farm
buildings. They often lay motionless for long periods of time. Patterned
pink to brown coloring common.
or Black Mamba: The Black Mamba is the second largest venomous snake
in the world. The Mamba is also the fastest moving snake in the world.
Color from green, olive, grey to black. The Black Mamba is considered
one of the most dangerous snakes. It is much feared and very aggressive.
Most of Africa is home to the mambas, avoid these snakes.
Desert Viper: Inhabits northern Africa and the Middle East. The
Horned Viper often has small horns on it's head but not always present.
The coloring of this snake varies as with most. It's colors often fit
well into it's environment making it hard to notice. During the day this
snake burrows into the sand making it easy to step on, which usually
results in a bite. It snake prefers dry sandy areas but is sometimes
found around a desert oasis. Active in the open at night. Uses a side
winding action to travel.
viper: Also called a Sand viper. This viper and it's relatives
inhabit north Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia. It can be found
from farmlands to mountains and varies to most all areas. This snake
bites quickly and it's venom is very dangerous, causing many deaths.
Often hisses loudly when threatened. Colors vary from grey to brown to
olive green. Both lighter and darker with a pattern.
viper or burrowing viper: The Mole viper lives in sub-Saharan
Africa. It is not an aggressive snake but if harassed or touched it can
turn with great speed and bite. This snake has very long fangs that
extend out of the side of it's mouth when biting. It can envenom
it's victim simply by swing its head to one side or the other, even when
being held behind the head. Black to dark brown color. Inhabits farms
and dry areas.
Adder: The Puff Adder is one of Africa's most common snakes. The
Puff Adder inhabits most of Africa, Saudi Arabia and part of southwest
Asia. It readily bites if approached, sometimes provides warning with a
loud hiss. It prefers not to live in true deserts or rainforests.
Nocturnal but has good camouflage and is difficult to see in the day.
Can strike very quickly to the front and sides.
viper or river jack: This snake inhabits the equatorial
portion of Africa. It prefers to live in rainforests or in swampy areas
or along and near water ways. It has a horn on the end of it's nose and
very rough scales. It strikes readily if surprised or agitated but is
not considered to be aggressive. Nocturnal, it spends it's days laying
on the jungle floor motionless and hard to see. A dangerous snake.
viper: This snake resides from the northern half of Africa to
southwest Asia. It is a nocturnal desert dweller. The Sand viper has a
short temper and will strike without hesitation or warning. Will
partially bury itself in the sand and lay motionless and very difficult
to see. Easily stepped on. Very rough scaled with a large triangular
viper: Responsible for many snake bites and deaths. The Saw Scaled
viper produces a rasping sound with it's scales. Small at 18 to 24
inches but very short tempered. This snake has very potent venom. Common
in dry areas, farms, barns, rural villages and rocky areas. It often
hides under loose rocks or other items. Nocturnal, it buries itself in
leaves or sand if not hidden. Sometimes climbs trees and bushes,
especially when it rains. Uses it's scales to produce a raspy sound when
threatened. Very aggressive, will readily strike.
most feared snakes of Africa include the Green and Black Mamba, the Cobra,
the Boomslang and the Adders.
The Green or Black Mamba
can move incredibly fast, avoid these snakes don't take chances.
The Cobra can spit it's
venom into the eyes of its victim from a long distance
will play dead if startled so be careful.
Snake bites are not
uncommon and can be life threatening, unfamiliar territory can be
distracting, when in Africa be alert to this danger.
Hints To Avoid A Bite
Don't try to pick up or trap a snake! It
sounds strange, but many people are bitten trying to grab or trap a snake
they have encountered.
Walk around a snake giving it plenty
Don't try to kill the snake just because you
have found it in the wilderness. This often ends in ways that are less
than desirable and snakes are very important to the environment.
Don't put your hands or feet in places where
you cannot see such as tall grass, holes or crevices in logs, rocks or in
the ground. Don't pick anything up without first flipping it over with a
small tree branch, hiking pole or other item.
Do not go bare foot or wear sandals when
exploring the outdoors. Always wear leather hiking boots or other suitable
footwear and clothing.
Watch where you step, especially around
trees, brush or tall grass. Be alert to your surroundings. Remember,
Snakes often lay motionless and may be unnoticeable.
If sleeping outdoors without a tent, don't
lay next to rocks, tall grass, brush or logs. Use mosquito netting to
create a barrier around yourself. Tuck mosquito netting well under your
sleeping bag and anchor it well away from your body with logs, rocks or
other items. Sleeping on a cot is preferable.