Variable Bush Viper

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Are you looking for information on the variable bush?

Do you find out specific details regarding this species of snakes?

Do you want to know how it is different from other common types of snakes?

Johan Fredriksson [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

Owing to its habitat, the variable viper is not a common snake that is found near human living areas. This can often make it quite mysterious, especially if you want to know more about it. But today with this article, we can help you find out more about it, and also tell you how to recognize one in case you happen to see it for real or in images anywhere.

In this article, we will tell you about the scientific as well as common names this species of snake is known by. We will also tell you where they live, what makes them different from other species of the bush viper snake, whether or not they are poisonous, and how to know for sure that you are looking at one. So if this is the kind of interesting information you are looking for, read on.

What is the scientific name of the variable bush?

The scientific name of the variable viper is Atheris Squamigera.

What other common names is this snake known by?

The variable viper is also more commonly known by other names such as:

  • The leaf viper  
  • The tree viper
  • The green bush viper
  • The Hallowell’s green tree viper
  • Common bush viper

Where do these snakes live?

The ecological habitat of the variable bush is in west and central Africa. The primary habitation of these types of snakes is the rain forest or other similar areas that have very dense vegetation.

  • It is specifically found around the Ivory Coast and Ghana.
  • It is also found eastward through the southern parts of Nigeria to Cameroon in Central Africa.
  • These snakes can also be found in the southern Central African Republic, Gabon, DR Congo, Congo, Uganda, northern Angola, western Kenya, Tanzania and Bioko Island off the west coast of Africa.

3 unique characteristics of this variable bush VS other species of bush vipers

Stéphane Magnenat [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

1. Small keeled scales:

  • The body, especially the head of the variable bush is covered in keeled and overlapping scales. This is one of the most common and noticeable feature of the variable viper snake.
  • There are about 7 to 9 interorbital scales across the top of the head between the plates of the eyes. There are 2 rows of scales that separate the eye and the nasal area.

2. Large eyes:

  • As compared to most other snakes, the variable viper has very large eyes.
  • Also, the shape of its head is triangular and its size is larger than the neck. This shape and size of the head is also in some ways responsible for making the eyes look especially large in these types of snakes.

3. Tip of the tail:

  • The tail of the variable bush has an ivory tip that makes it vastly distinguishable from the other species of the same type.
  • This is specifically useful for the snake to lure its prey near and make it easier to hunt.

Are these snakes venomous?

  • Yes, these snakes are known to be extremely venomous and there have been reports that bite from the variable viper can result in death.
  • Also, the venom from these snakes is so dangerous that they can lead to various haematological complications.
  • A venomous bite from the variable bush can destroy the red blood cells and can also lead to organ degeneration. It can also cause damage to the tissues.
  • In addition, getting bitten by this snake can lead to severe pain as well as swelling and problems with blood clotting.
  • No specific anti-venom has yet been developed for snake bite from the Atheris species. However, in some cases, the anti-venom that is developed for another genus, the Echis, has shown partial effectiveness in neutralizing the effects of the Atheris venom.

Do these snakes face any predatory and environmental dangers?

Stéphane Magnenat [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]
  • While these snakes are not mainly hunted by humans for food, they are farmed for their venom that is used for anti-venom and other medical or biological uses.
  • As of now, this species of snake has not been listed as a species that is under threat from any other species.
  • However, with the reduction of rainforest and vast green belts that have an adequate supply of rodents, frogs and other such small animals, the variable bush finds its natural habitat gradually getting smaller.

3 definitive ways to tell if a snake you are looking at is indeed a variable bush

  1. Head is difficult to see because of the tight and overlapping scales.
  2. Triangular head with very large eyes.
  3. White colour on the tip of the tail.