Can A Bush Viper Kill You? Quick Answer

Learn more about this post by reading Can A Bush Viper Kill You? The class Reptilia includes spiny bush vipers indigenous to central Africa. Rainforests and other tropical areas are where you can find them. The Greek terms for their scientific name, hairy and tailed, are used in the phrase.

These little, venomous, spiny-scaled snakes derive their name from how their scales are keeled. Also, semi-arboreal, these critters prefer to spend most of the day climbing trees. Its venom is neurotoxic and can result in organ bleeding. However, toxicity varies from person to person.

Can A Bush Viper Kill You?

According to National Geographic, the venom from an African bush viper bite can kill a person within days and induce fever, difficulty breathing, severe inflammation, hemorrhaging, and tissue death. As members of the family Viperidae, venomous snakes like rattlesnakes and vipers found in Asia’s tropical regions are linked to spiny bush vipers.

Can A Bush Viper Kill You 1

Only growing up to 29 inches for males and 23 inches for females, they are tiny reptiles. Men have more extended, leaner frames than females’ thick physiques. They get the name “spiny bush viper” because of their bodies’ green or brownish-keeled scales, which give them a bristly look.

The scales are the longest at the head and gradually get smaller as they descend the back. They have broad, triangular heads, short snouts, small necks, and big eyes with vertically elliptical pupils. Because of the prehensile nature of their tails, they can hang upside down and climb.

Bush Viper Facts

Habitat And Distribution

Spiny bush vipers can be found in marshes, wooded areas, and rainforests. They are vigorous climbers and frequently inhabit altitudes between 2,900 and 7,800 feet. They can be found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, southwest Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. They are endemic to central Africa. They have been referred to be isolated populations spread throughout various areas.

Reproduction And Offspring

Spiny bush vipers breed between the end of the summer and October when it is the rainy season. They become sexually mature between the ages of 2 and 3. Females are ovoviviparous, which means they have live births. Females carry fertilized eggs for six to seven months after mating before giving birth to nine to twelve infants in March or April.

The length of these young, dark green with wavy patterns is about 6 inches. They need 3 to 4 months to develop their adult color. Scientists are still determining these animals’ wildlife spans because of their isolation from humans, although they can survive for more than 12 years in captivity.

Conservation Status

Due to their isolation and nighttime behavior, nothing is known about their number.


The Bush Viper is a poisonous snake that attacks potential victims with its venom-filled fangs to kill them before swallowing them whole. Their fangs are filled with a hemotoxic venom intended to kill and destroy red blood cells and harm the tissue and cause organ failure.

The Bush Viper can feast on smaller creatures. Thus it was made to kill them. While the venom of the Bush Viper may not quickly kill a person, it can raise a person’s temperature and cause bleeding. The venom can be strong enough to eventually kill an adult human if it is not treated soon away.

On the other hand, a little bite might result in some localized pain or edema. Nonetheless, it is still crucial to contact a doctor soon away to ensure that the Bush Viper’s venom does not cause permanent harm. There isn’t a specific anti-venom that fights the Bush Viper’s venom, but specific treatments can help.

You should also keep a bite procedure on hand if things go wrong. The standard bite protocol offers a list of potential actions you may need to do to buy yourself sometime after being bitten. As the Bush Viper has no specialized anti-venom, research items, or treatments that can lessen the venom until aid arrives or until you can get to a doctor. A guideline for bites also contains a directory of doctors specializing in treating snake bites.


There is no process to know for sure how long Bush Vipers live. However, depending on how well they are cared for and on many factors, including diet, living conditions, and sanitation, most snakes survive between 10 and 20 years.

Bush vipers often live longer in captivity because they are shielded from potential threats to their lives in the wild, such as parasites, diseases, and predators. Additionally, when raised in captivity, their food appears to be superior. Bush vipers are among the rare reptiles that, as a result, live significantly longer in captivity than they do in the wild.


Bush viper neonates typically measure 6 to 8 inches long at birth, requiring a few months to mature into juveniles. These young Bush Vipers are already poisonous at birth.


Juvenile Bush vipers are snakes that are neither small nor mature neonates, nor are they wholly formed or matured. Juveniles are already in charge of locating their food at this point. Around 42 months are needed for a Bush Viper to attain sexual maturity.


Forty-two months after birth is around the time an adult Bush Viper reaches sexual maturity. They are at least a foot long at this stage of their development, especially for females.

Eating Habits

The Bush Viper is a carnivorous reptile, much like any other snake, and only eats live prey. These reptiles will consume everything small enough to fit on their lips. Little lizards, frogs, rodents, birds, and smaller animals make up their typical diet. There are reports of them dining on other snakes and exhibiting cannibalistic tendencies. Nonetheless, they often flourish in captivity or the wild when they eat rodents.

The Bush Viper is an ambush vampire that lurks on elevated objects like tree branches in the wild. These arboreal reptiles enjoy stalking their prey at night while hiding in bushes or other objects that will blend in with their surroundings. Typically, they attack their target with their poisonous teeth and wait for them to pass out before swallowing them whole.

When kept in captivity, it is preferable to feed the Bush Viper rodents because they are more straightforward and more readily available and already contain the nutrients the snake needs to survive for a whole week.

Like most animals, Neonatal Bush Vipers require more frequent feeding than older Bush Vipers. Feeding these neonates could be difficult for beginners, but all you have to do to get them to attack is to entice them with food by tapping their tails. Pinkie mice can usually be consumed whole by newborns.

Smaller animals might not be able to consume whole pinkie mice, though. You should tease the neonate about eating the mice by cutting them into tiny pieces. After that, the snake will have had enough training to hunt its prey on its own without any assistance from you.

It is much simpler to feed adult Bush Vipers. When you add a mouse or rat, they will almost immediately attack it and eat it whole after it is dead. Adult Bush Vipers will occasionally even consume frozen mice without having to stalk or hunt them themselves.

Depending on how much food was consumed, adult Bush Vipers need only be fed once per week or every ten days. Some people feed their adult bush snakes once every two to three weeks.

As long as they have room in their stomachs, these reptiles are prone to overeating and will likely try to consume the prey item as soon as they see it. Obesity will cause overeating, which may shorten the snake’s lifespan owing to illnesses or other health issues.

Take special care when feeding the Bush Viper. Always use long tweezers to keep your hands away from their poisonous teeth when introducing their prey to them. Yet even while using tweezers, you might need to give your hands a little extra protection to keep you safe from its poisonous bite.

When feeding the Bush Viper with tweezers, some individuals wear a protective cone over their hands. Because the Bush Viper hunts at night, feeding them at night rather than during the day is preferable because they will react better in the evening.


Bush vipers are arboreal creatures that typically ingest water drops that fall from leaves or branches in the environment. As a result, they are inherently resistant to drinking from a bowl or other steady water source.

Nonetheless, Bush Vipers can typically drink from water bowls when captive-bred. But occasionally, especially if they are still young or relatively new to captivity, these snakes might prefer to drink directly from drops. It could be preferable in this situation to sprinkle their enclosure with water.

Maintaining a water dish nearby is still a good idea so that your Bush Viper can grow acclimated to drinking water from it, even if your snake responds better to misting. To help them progressively get used to drinking water from a bowl, gradually reduce the frequency of your misting.

Once they are accustomed to drinking from a dish, they descend to the ground only to sip from it before returning to their elevated position. There is a significant potential that the Bush Viper will urinate in the water in the dish, so always keep an eye on it. In that scenario, sanitize the water dish as much as possible before replacing it with fresh water.

How To Breed?

The wet and dry seasons that Bush Vipers encounter in the wild do not exist in captivity. The wet season affects the snakes’ mating season. As a result, it may be challenging to get Bush Vipers to breed when housed in captivity, where they do not experience the distinct rainy and dry seasons in the wild.

Bush vipers’ breeding season is nonetheless influenced by pressure, temperature, and humidity. These reptiles change pressure along with a dip in temperature and an increase in the humidity in the environment during the wet season or perhaps in October. You can force breeding by maintaining the same conditions in their enclosure. Copulation will probably occur if you can recreate the conditions of a wet season.

Female Bush Vipers will eat more when they are getting ready to mate. Because they require extra calories for reproduction, you might need to feed them more frequently than usual. You can put the male in the female’s cage once she reaches the desired size and weight.

Over two months, you can introduce the male to the female once every three to four days. When they are apart at this time, be sure to feed the female. The male will typically lose his appetite, especially since he will be more intent in attempting to mate. Try to respect the snakes’ privacy when mating because they become more sensitive then.

Copulation can be quickly disrupted and stopped by a minor perturbation. After copulation, the female Bush Viper may continue to eat more than usual, but gradually she will lose her appetite, especially if she is already pregnant. Live snakes are born from bush vipers instead of hatching outside the mother.

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I hope you understand Can A Bush Viper Kill You? Because of the isolation of these snakes’ habitats, there is little contact with people. Its venom is poisonous and can cause severe internal organ bleeding. When this viper bites, it can result in localized discomfort, edema, and blood in more severe cases.

The toxicity varies with the snake, the area where it bit, the time of day, and even the altitude. A bite from an Atheris species can be fatal to humans if first aid is unavailable, as is the case for all Atheris species. Yet, because of their nocturnal habits and distant location, bites are very uncommon.

Frequently Asked Questions

How venomous is the bush viper?

An African bush viper’s venom is predominantly hemotoxic and potentially fatal. Anti-venoms currently on the market may not be able to neutralize the venom of this genus. After being bitten by a pet African bush snake, a 25-year-old man was taken to the emergency room diaphoretic and hypotensive (70/40 mmHg).

Can you survive a viper bite?

According to the World Health Organization, only a tiny percentage of these bites result in death; however, because of the poisons in snake venom, significant medical issues can develop within hours, including organ failure, uncontrollable bleeding, severe tissue destruction, and paralysis that may prevent breathing (WHO).

Can vipers kill humans?

Given that it is thought to have killed more people than all other snake species combined, the saw-scaled viper (Echis carinatus) may be the deadliest snake. Nonetheless, less than 10% of untreated victims die from its venom, despite the snake’s aggression, which causes it to strike frequently and early.

What do bush vipers eat?

The main prey of African bush vipers, which are carnivorous, is tiny rodents. When accessible, they may also consume tiny reptiles, birds, and frogs.

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