- Range elevation
- 100 to 400 m
- 328.08 to 1312.34 ft
- Sexual Dimorphism
- female larger
- Range length
- 50 to 79.9 cm
- 19.69 to 31.46 in
- Average length
- 65 to 70 cm
After fertilization, (Paukstis and Fredric, 1991)gives birth to live young (ovoviviparous). Growth is indeterminate, but slows as the snake matures. Juveniles are born venomous and are responsible for capturing their own food. Young snakes can be recognized by the unique coloration of their scales. In addition, the end of their tail is distinctly different and is used as a lure to attract small prey. Time to maturity has not been documented. As individuals age, the coloration of their scales becomes more uniform and may change completely in some cases.
- Development - Life Cycle
- indeterminate growth
Although the specific mating system of vipers are typically seasonally monogamous. During courtship, male and female vipers face one another, followed by head and body gestures, which allow for mounting. For example, males often approach their mate while swaying their head side to side in order to engage a female. (Antonio, 1980; Minakami, 1979)is currently unknown,
- Breeding interval
- breeds once yearly.
- Breeding season
- breeds during the wet season, from May to August).
- Range number of offspring
- 2 to 19
- Average number of offspring
- 7 to 9
- Average gestation period
- 2 months
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 42 months
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 24 months
As an ovoviviparous species, female green bush vipers carry their unborn young internally, protecting them in the pre-birth stage. Like many vipers, green bush vipers abandon offspring immediately after birth. Neonates are venomous and completely independent. (Graves and Duvall, 1995; Luiselli, et al., 2000)
- Parental Investment
Average lifespan for green bush vipers has not been documented. Most vipers live 10 to 20 years in the wild. It has been suggested that captive vipers may live longer because risk factors such as predation, disease, and diet are controlled. (Minakami, 1979)
vipers, is an ambush predator. As such, it spends a large amount of time laying in wait for potential prey to enter its immediate environment. Once in range, strikes very rapidly, with speeds recorded in milliseconds. It spends large amounts of time in one place due to this predatory behavior. Except during mating periods, is a solitary species. (Chifundera, 1990; Cundall, 2009; Freiria, et al., 2006)is nocturnal and like other
There is no information available regarding the average home range size of.
Communication and Perception
shrews and rodents. Less commonly, it feeds on birds and small reptiles. Juveniles feed on reptiles more often than their adult counterparts. Like other vipers, adults often prey on adolescent snakes of their own species. The venom of is lethal and is used to subdue and kill prey prior to ingestion. In humans, the bite of often causes fever, hemorrhaging, and death. (Akani, 2000; Freiria, et al., 2006; Mueller, 1998)is carnivorous. It does most of its hunting at night and is an ambush predator. It feeds mainly on small, nocturnal mammals such as
- Primary Diet
- eats terrestrial vertebrates
- Animal Foods
snakes, including conspecifics. Humans living near habitat sometime capture it for food, but typically only when it threatens fishing or agricultural activities. (Chifundera, 1990; Corniskey, et al., 2003)has few predators. The most commonly noted predators are other
To avoid predation, green bush vipers rely on the same mechanisms used for hunting. Their camouflaged scale patterns allow them to blend in with the surrounding environment. This coloration serves a two-fold purpose, allowing the viper to strike and surprise potential prey, and go unnoticed by potential predators. This ambush-based hiding and hunting behavior allows the snake to sometimes hide rather than engaging in defensive or aggressive behavior. The bright coloration also serves as a warning of the snake's venomous nature to potentially threatening animals. (Chifundera, 1990; Corniskey, et al., 2003)
- Known Predators
- snakes, (Serpentes)
- humans, (Homo sapiens)
Because it feeds primarily on small rodents, many of which may carry zoonotic diseases and be considered agricultural pests, may help control pest species throughout its geographic range. Parasites of this species have not been documented. (Butynski and McCullough, 2007; Edirisinghe and Bambaradeniya, 2006; Mallet and Joron, 1999)
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Many vipers, including are farmed for their venom, a process is known as "milking". The venom is used to produce antivenom and for medical and biological uses. Although it is not hunted as a primary food source, it is occasionally captured in fishing nets as by-catch and thus sometimes used as food source. (Chifundera, 1990; Corniskey, et al., 2003; Cundall, 2009)
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Green bush vipers are venomous, and as such pose a potential threat to humans. Many unprovoked attacks occur during agricultural activities, as this species is an ambush predator and lies in wait for potential prey. (Chifundera, 1990; Raab and Fitzal, 2005)
- Negative Impacts
- bites or stings
has not been evaluated by the IUCN and is not listed as a species of concern on any known threatened species lists.
Michael Berces (author), Radford University, Patrick Moore (author), Radford University, Christine Small (editor), Radford University, John Berini (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.
uses sound to communicate
having coloration that serves a protective function for the animal, usually used to refer to animals with colors that warn predators of their toxicity. For example: animals with bright red or yellow coloration are often toxic or distasteful.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
a substance used for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease
union of egg and spermatozoan
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
- indeterminate growth
Animals with indeterminate growth continue to grow throughout their lives.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
reproduction in which eggs develop within the maternal body without additional nourishment from the parent and hatch within the parent or immediately after laying.
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
an animal which has an organ capable of injecting a poisonous substance into a wound (for example, scorpions, jellyfish, and rattlesnakes).
uses sight to communicate
Akani, G. 2000. Arboreal habits and viper biology in the African rainforest: The ecology of Atheris squamigera. Israel Journal of Zoology, 46/4: 273-286.
Antonio, F. 1980. Mating behavior and reproduction of the eyelash viper Bothrops schlegeli in captivity. Herpetologica, 36/3: 231-233.
Branch, W., J. Bayliss. 2009. A new species of Artheris Serpentes: Viperidae from northern Mozambique. Zootaxa, 2113: 41-54.
Branch, W. 2006. Reptiles of the Gamba Complex of protected areas, Southwestern Gabon. Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington, 12: 309-318.
Buckley, L., M. Kearney, K. De Queiroz. 2000. Slowly-evolving protein loci and higher-level snake phylogeny: A reanalysis. Herpetologica, 56/3: 324-332.
Butynski, T., J. McCullough. 2007. A Rapid Bilogical Assessment of Lokutu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Arlington, VA: Conservation International.
Carpenter, C. 1977. Communication and Displays of Snakes. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 17/1: 217-223.
Chifundera, K. 1990. Snakes of Zaire and Their Bites. African Study Monographs, 10/3: 137-157.
Corniskey, J., T. Sunderland, J. Sunderland-Groves. 2003. Takamanda: the Biodiversity of an African Rainforest. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.
Cundall, D. 2009. Viper Fangs: Functional Limitations of Extreme Teeth. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 82/1: 63-79.
Douglas, M., M. Douglas, W. Gordon, L. Porras. 2009. Climate Change and Evolution of the New World Pitviper Genus Agkistrodon Viperidae. Journal of Biogeography, 36: 1164-1180.
Edirisinghe, J., C. Bambaradeniya. 2006. Rice Fields: An Ecosystem Rich in Biodiversity. Journal of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, 34/2: 57-59.
Fowler, H. 1937. Zoological results of the George Vanderbilt African Expedition of 1934. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, 139: 263-280.
Freiria, F., J. Brito, M. Avia. 2006. Ophiophagy and Cannibalism in Vipera latastei Bosca, 1878. Herpetological Bulletin, 96: 26-28.
Graves, B., D. Duvall. 1995. Aggregation of Squamate Reptiles Associated with Gestation, Oviposition, and Parturition. Herpetological Monographs, 9: 102-119.
Ineich, I., X. Bonnet, R. Shine, T. Shine, F. Brischoux. 2006. What, if Anything, is a "Typical" Viper? Biological Attributes of Basal Viperid Snakes (Genus Causus Wagler, 1830). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 89: 575-588.
Lawson, D., P. Ustach. 2000. A redescription of Atheris squamigera (Serpentes: Viperidae) with Comments on the Validity of Atheris anisolepis. Journal of Herpetology, 34/3: 386-389.
Luiselli, L., G. Akani, F. Angelici. 2000. Arboreal Habits and Viper Biology in the African Rainforest: The Ecology of Atheris Squamiger. Israel Journal of Zoology, 46: 273-286.
Mallet, J., M. Joron. 1999. Evolution of Diversity in Warning Color and Mimicry: Polymorphisms, Shifting Balance, and Speciation. Annual Review of Ecological Systems, 30: 201-233.
Minakami, K. 1979. An Estimation of Age and Life-span of the Genus Trimeresurus (Reptilia, Serpentes, Viperidae) on Amami Oshima Island, Japan. Journal of Herpetology, 13/2: 147-152.
Mueller, D. 1998. Severe Coagulopathy after a Bite of a Green Bush Viper. Toxicology, 46/10: 1333-1340.
Ota, H., T. Hidida. 1987. On a Small Collection of Lizards and Snakes from Cameroon, West Africa. African Study Monographs, 8/2: 111-123.
Paukstis, G., J. Fredric. 1991. Environmental Sex Determination in Reptiles: Ecology, Evolution, and Experimental Design. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 66/2: 149-179.
Raab, G., S. Fitzal. 2005. The bite of Atheris squamiger. Clinical Toxicology, 43/5: 476.
Serrano, T. 2008. Exploring Snake Venom Proteomes: Multifaceted Analyses for Complex Toxin Mixtures. Proteomics, 8/4: 909-920.
Shine, R. 1980. Ecology of the Australian Death Adder Acanthophis antarcticus (Elapidae): Evidence for Convergence with the Viperidae. Herpetologica, 36/4: 281-289.
Spawls, S. 1978. A Checklist of the Snakes of Kenya. Journal of the East Africa Natural History Society and National Museum, 31/167: 1-18.