Bush Viper

Have you ever heard about the bush viper snake?

Are you looking for more information about bush viper snakes and all their different varieties?

Do you want to discover everything there is to know about this beautiful reptile?

Stéphane Magnenat [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

If you have any question regarding the bush viper snake, including its various types, the name it is also known by, more details about its appearance and so on, you’re definitely in the RIGHT PLACE.

In fact, here we will give you a look at the different types of Bush Vipers. We talk about different such snakes, including the red bush viper, the green bush viper, the African bush viper, the American bush viper and more.

We tell you why they are called bush vipers, what typical colours they are found in, how commonly are these found and whether they can often come in contact with humans. So, if you are ready to arm yourself with all the information you can gather about these, read on.

Bush Viper Scientific Name

The scientific name of the bush viper snakes is Atheris. Here is a look at some of the different species of bush vipers that are found around the world:

  • Spiny bush viper
  • Rough scaled bush viper
  • Hairy bush viper
  • American bush viper
  • African bush viper
  • Green bush viper
  • Red bush viper

Bush Viper Reptile Family

The bush viper snakes belong to the Viperinae subfamily of snakes and their family is known by the name of Viperidae.

  • The higher classification of the bush viper snake is vipers.
  • In the scientific world, they rank as Genus.

Why are they called Bush Viper Snakes?

The Bush Viper Snakes are very good at climbing and can easily climb up at a higher point. They are so good at climbing that they are very easily able to reach the upper parts of different flowering bushy plants. This is also the place where it spends most part of the day, because they love to spend time in the sun.

Michael Rivera [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Bush Viper Snakes: What do they look like?

Take a look at the common and distinctive features of the bush viper snakes in terms of the way they look.

Bush Viper Snake Colors

Usually, a bush viper snake can be found in a variety of colors that have a similarity with the outdoors, such as green, olive green, bluish colors or some type of brownish colour.  

Bush Viper Snake’s Head Size and Shape

  • Usually, almost all the different species of the bush viper snake, such as the African bush viper, American bush viper, red bush viper and others, have a head that is triangular in shape and is quite broad.
  • The head of the bush viper snake is in typical cases larger than the size of the neck.
  • This makes the head of the bush viper look distinctly different from the neck.
  • Also, the crown of the bush viper snake is usually covered with small and smooth scales.

Bush Viper Snake Eyes

  • In almost all the type of bush viper snakes, the eyes are quite large and the pupils are elliptical in shape.
  • This kind of pupil not only makes it easier for these snakes to be able to see in the dark, making it easier for them to find their prey while they are on a hunt.
  • Also, one thing that is quite noticeable in the location of the eyes on the bush viper snake is the fact that their eyes are separated from the area of the mouth along the upper jaw by about 1 to 3 rows of scales.
  • There is also a separation of the eyes from the nasal area by about 2 to 3 scales.

The body of the bush viper snake

  • The bush viper snake has a slender, compressed body.
  • The dorsal scales in this type of snake are overlapping. These refer to the scales on the body of the snake that are like a longitudinal series of plates and encircle the body.
  • The scales on the body of these types of snakes are keeled, which makes them rough to the touch instead of being smooth.
  • The bush viper snake has long and hollow fangs that are tubular in shape.
  • The venom that is supplied to the fangs of this snake comes from a gland that is situated on the upper jaw area between the eyes and the mouth.
  • Their tail has a strong prehensile quality, which is very helpful in supporting their body if they are hanging from a branch.  

Bush Viper Snakes: Different Species

Johan Fredriksson [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

There are different types of bush viper snakes, and the most common of them are as follows:

1. Red bush viper

The red bush viper is a type of the Atheris species and is named so because of its colour. It is found in the tropical sub-Saharan African region, excluding southern Africa.

2. American bush viper

These types of bush viper snakes are usually found in parts of South America.

3. African bush viper

  • The African bush viper is also known as Atheris squamigera and is mostly found in the central and western parts of Africa.
  • One thing that is quite unusual about this type of snake is that it does not make a hissing sound by scale-rasping on it’s tail, which is most commonly associated with snakes.
  • Some of the most common African bush viper colors are red, orange, green, yellow or even in a combination of these different colors.
  • In some cases, this particular species of bush viper can also change its color during its lifetime.

4. Green bush viper

The green bush viper is a type of African bush viper, and is also known as the Atheris squamigera. The green bush viper snake can be especially deadly for the human species. Many of these are found in agricultural areas, where they lie in wait for their prey.

These species of bush viper snakes are extremely venomous, and while they usually do not come forward to attack, unless they are hunting, they can easily strike their venom if they come in close proximity to humans.

How common are bush viper snakes?

Not all bush viper snakes are common. A lot of their species are now isolated and have become fragmented in their distribution because they are able to live properly only in rain forests or areas that have a similar climate.

In which region are bush vipers typically found?

  • In most cases, these types of snakes are usually found in the tropical sub-Saharan African region, which does not include southern Africa. The African bush viper is most commonly found in the western as well as the central parts of Africa.
  • Some types of bush vipers, especially the American bush viper, are also said to be found in some parts of South America.
  • Bush viper snakes typically love to inhabit the rain forests, or areas that have a similar climate.
  • They can also sometimes be found in dense agricultural areas.  

What are the chances that humans will encounter a Bush Viper?

The bush viper snake is usually a solitary species that spends most of its time away from other habitation. It usually comes around other living beings only when it is time to mate, or when it is looking to hunt.

As a result, it is not very common that human beings will easily encounter this kind of snake (unlike the green bush viper about which you can read about above), unless they are out in the specific areas where these species of snakes are found.


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