Hairy Bush Viper


Are you looking for information on the hairy viper?

Do you want to find out more about its specific features and habitat?

Do you want to know how you can be sure to spot this viper when you see one?

Michael Rivera [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

There are different types of bush vipers, and a hairy viper is also one, but with its uniqueness. If you are interested in knowing about its behaviour, the way it looks, and some easy signs that can help you spot this particular type of snake, then this article can help.

Today we are taking a look at various details about the hairy viper, such as its scientific and common names, its population, where it is found, and also some of its characteristics that you may find interesting. Also, read the signs that can help you spot it easily, even when you watch it on screen.

What is a hairy viper?

This viper is a type of viper species that is extremely venomous.

What is its scientific name?

The scientific name of the hairy viper is Atheris Hispida.

By what other names is this snake also known?

This viper is also more commonly known by a few other names such as the following:

  • The spiny bush viper
  • The rough scaled tree viper
  • The blue bush viper
  • The African hairy viper
  • The rough scaled bush viper
  • The prickly bush viper

One interesting fact is that researchers who specifically work on this type of species say that it is best to avoid the common name hairy viper while referring to this type of snake. This is because using this name can create confusion with another type of snake, which is known as the Atheris hirsuta.

Are there different types or species of this snake?

LA Dawson [CC BY 2.5 (]

As of yet, there are no known subspecies of this viper that are recognized.

How big or small is the current total population of this type of snake?

While the exact population status of this type of snake is not known, it does not fall under the conservation concern category.

Where are these types of snakes typically found?

These types of snakes typically live in the forest areas, where they use their scales to help them in climb up on the reeds and stalks. This viper likes to spend time on the top of the plants, and more preferably, in the flowers and the leaves of the plants.

  • The hairy African bush viper is specifically found regions of Central Africa such as the DR Congo, west Kenya and south-west Uganda.
  • To be more specific, they can be found in areas such as the Kivu and the Orientale Provinces in the DR Congo, the southeastern Ruwenzori region in Uganda and the Kakamega Forest located in western Kenya.

What does this viper look like?

  • This viper has a short snout on the head which is more pronounced in the males than in the females.
  • The head and neck of this viper are covered with some of the longest scales as compared to the rest of its body.  
  • It has large eyes that are surrounded by about anything between 9 and 16 circumorbital scales. These are the scales that are present around the margins of the eyes.
  • There are about 7 to 9 scales that separate the eyes.
  • The nostril of this type of snake is shaped like a slit and is separated from the eyes with the help of 2 scales.
  • It has very heavily keeled and overlapping dorsal scales that cover its entire body.
  • As a result, this type of snake has a unique shaggy look to its skin and looks almost as if it is bristle.  

Are there any distinct movements or features that set it apart from other snakes?

  1. Makes a strong guttural kind of sound.
  2. Large dark eyes.
  3. Extremely scaly body.

How can you tell for sure that a snake is, in fact, a hairy viper?

Jgdb500 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

Here are a few physical signs that can make you identify this viper, also known as the Atheris Hispida. Also, while the blue bush viper is extremely rare to find, it is a rare variety.

These Vipers have…

  • Dark black and big eyes.
  • A head and entire body covered in scales that look as if they are standing up.
  • Bristle like texture on the skin.
  • Scales, especially on the head and neck, have a darkish colour towards the tip.

These Vipers also…

  • Prefer to stay on tree branches.
  • Are an arboreal and predatory animal that can quietly lie in wait for its prey for long.

While they are not becoming extinct, deforestation does pose a threat to their preferred living habitat.

Additional Research: