10 most venomous snakes in Africa – Part Three

Interesting facts about some of Africa’s most dangerous and most venomous snakes!

Cape Cobra

  • The Cape Cobra (Naja nivea) has a highly neurotoxic venom believed to be the most potent of all African cobras.
  • Beautiful snake that varies both in colour (from yellow to copper/mahogany coloured and purplish/black) and size (average is 4 feet; can grow to 6 feet).

  • Mortality rate in humans is +/- 60% if not treated immediately.
  • Death normally occurs between 2 and 5 hours after a person is bitten, and is usually the result of respiratory failure due to the onset of paralysis.

Green Mamba

  • The Green Mamba is similar to its black cousin in terms of venom composition (only one-tenth as toxic though), yet it differs in colour (glossy grass-green) and size (1.8 m/5.9 feet on average).

  • It is also shy and less aggressive than the black specimen, and tends to be arboreal (instead of mainly terrestrial).
  • There are two types of green mambas: the Western Green Mamba (Dendroaspis viridis; native to West Africa), and the Eastern Green Mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps; indigenous to the eastern side of southern Africa).

African Bush Viper

  • The Bush Viper (Atheris squamigera), sometimes called the “Leaf Viper”, is an arboreal snake species that inhabits the rainforest and woodland habitats of Africa (Congo Basin, Uganda, Kenya…).
  • Primarily nocturnal.
  • Highly venomous yet relatively passive. Will defend itself when molested.
  • Often comes to the ground to feed on small rodents, frogs and lizards. Uses its tail to hang from the low lying branches and unsuspectedly strikes on its chosen meal.
  • Usually green but adapts to its environment for survival: olive brown or rusty brown colour not uncommon.

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