Description: Pink to brown with a vertebral series of elongated yellowish or light brown spots connected by hourglass-shaped markings on each side. It has a dark brown stripe behind each eye. This dangerous viper is almost invisible on the forest floor. A 1.8-meter-long (6-foot-long) Gaboon viper could weigh 16 kilograms (35 pounds).
Characteristics: The largest and heaviest of all true vipers, having a very large triangular head. It comes out in the evening to feed. Fortunately, it is not aggressive, but it will stand its ground if approached. It bites when molested or stepped on. Its fangs are enormous, often measuring 5 centimeters (2 inches) long. It injects a large amount of venom when it strikes. Its venom is neurotoxic and hemotoxic.
Habitat: Dense rain forests. Occasionally found in open country.
Length: Average 1.2 meters (4 feet), maximum 1.8 meters (6 feet).
Distribution: Most of Africa (Figure E-26).
Figure E-26. Gaboon Viper Habitat