Horned Bush Viper

Are you looking for information on the horned bush viper?

Do you need facts about this snake for any particular project, or perhaps just out of curiosity?

Are you fascinated by snakes and want to find out more about this particular species?

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

If any of this seems to be what you are looking for, then you have reached the right source of information. Today in this article, we are talking in detail about the horned bush viper, and sharing information that can help you build your knowledge on this type of snake.

We take a look at some of its physical features and also find out its scientific as well as more common names. We share more about its habitat and what it eats, and whether or not it is a poisonous snake. There is a lot we are sharing here today, so be ready to read on.

What does the horned bush viper or Atheris Ceratophora look like?

The horned bush viper is also known by its scientific name of Atheris Ceratophora, which is derived from the Greek words ‘keras’ that means horn, and ‘phero’ which means bearing. It has the following physical features:

Overall length and size:

  • The horned bush viper can grow up to a total body length of 21 inches, measured from the head till the tail.
  • The female horned bush viper is slightly larger in size than the males.
  • In the male horned bush viper, the maximum total length is usually about 17 inches, where the tail measures about 3.1 inches.

Size of the head in relation to the body:

  • The size of the head of the horned bush viper is usually large as compared to the rest of the body.
  • Also, the head is very broad and triangular in shape, which makes it easily distinguishable from its narrow neck.

Typical colours and scale patterns:

  • The scale that is found at the tip of the snout that borders the mouth area in this type of snake is more than twice as broad as it is high.
  • One of its distinctive features that make it easy to spot the horned bush viper is the set of about 3 to 5 horn-like scales that are located immediately above the eyes.
  • Most of the scales on the horned bush viper are either yellowish-green, grey, olive or a ground black colour.
  • Some of these can have variable markings on them, while some can have irregular black spots or even a criss-cross pattern of bars that can be lined with white or yellow spots.
  • The colour around the belly of the horned bush viper is a dirty orange and can sometimes even be almost as dark as black.
  • This area is sometimes also covered in dark spots.  

Where can this snake be found?

  • The horned bush viper is mainly found in the Uzungwe and Usambara (which is the mountain range in northeastern Tanzania in the tropical East Africa) Mountains in Tanzania.
  • It is thought that it may also be found in the Uluguru Mountains in eastern Tanzania.
  • This type of snake usually prefers to live in areas that are grassy and have low bushes that are as high as about 3.3 feet from the ground.
  • They also inhabit the forest areas and woodlands at altitudes that are about 2,300 to about 6,600 feet in height.   
  • It is mainly an arboreal type of snake, which means that it prefers to be on the trees and in areas above the ground, though it may sometime come near the ground for hunting purposes.

How dangerous is this snake?

This is a very venomous snake and can be dangerous as well as lethal for both animals as well as for human beings.

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

What do these snakes eat?

The horned bush viper mainly eats other small amphibians such as rodents, lizards, birds and even some types of snakes. While they do eat frogs too, they are mainly known as opportunistic feeders, which means, that they will eat whatever prey they happen to find, instead of just waiting for the frog.

Is this snake known by any other common names?

The horned bush viper is also more commonly known by other names as mentioned below. Also, find out why they are called so:

  • The Usambara bush viper is found mainly in the Usambara region in Tanzania.
  • The eyelash bush viper has two upstanding scales that are present above the eyes.
  • The Usambara mountain bush viper is found mainly in the Usambara mountain ranges in Tanzania.
  • The horned tree viper has a horn like shape on the snout.
  • The Usambara tree viper is found mainly in the trees in the Usambara region.

Like the other Atheris species, the horned bush viper is also mostly active in the night, or during dawn or dusk, and prefers to rest in the day.

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