Spiny bush viper

These shaggy snakes are only 2 feet long and mostly arboreal.
Spiny bush viper Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Atheris hispida
Spiny bush viper Physical Characteristics
Brown, Blue, Green
10-12 years
2 pounds
Spiny bush viper Distribition

Spiny bush vipers resemble genuine- life dragons.

Do not allow the lovely face fool you; this snake is extremely poisonous and, like various other vipers, has retracting hypodermic needle- like fangs. They pass a couple of names like the dragon bush viper, African hirsute bush viper, harsh- scaled bush viper, bristly bush viper, and harsh- scaled treeviper These little snakes load a strike and sporting activity what might be one of the most one-of-a-kind camouflage of any kind of snake.

Unbelievable Spiny Bush Viper Truths

  • Their ranges are added lengthy and highly keeled – – it makes them look bushy or spiny.
  • They have superb detects of odor, vision, and resonance that they make use of to stay clear of predators and locate food.
  • Spiny bush vipers can be blue, eco-friendly, brownish, or a mix of the 3.

Scientific Name and Classification

Spiny bush vipers are participants of the Viperidae family. They’re connected to various other vipers like Russel’s viper, the Gaboon viper, and the usual adder. Their scientific name, Atheris hispida, originates from 2 Greek words implying hirsute and trailed.

These snakes obtain their name from the keeled ranges on their bodies, which are harsh to the factor of resembling the shrubs and trees where they such as to conceal. They pass numerous various names, consisting of the African hirsute bush viper, harsh- scaled bush viper, bristly bush viper, and harsh- scaled tree viper.

Spiny Bush Viper Appearance

These snakes drop under the “Charming yet Lethal” group. They’re tiny, shaggy- looking snakes, and the males just expand to concerning 29 inches; females are also smaller sized at 23 inches. Spiny bush vipers have slim bodies, and in this species, the males are thinner. They have relatively big eyes with upright students. This species has prehensile tails that they make use of to hang from tree branches.

Being vipers, their fangs are retracting and are maintained folded right into the mouth when they’re not required. Their heads mirror the area needed for the poison glands that the hypodermic needle- kind teeth affix to and are broad and spade- formed; the males have a tendency to have stubbier noes than the females.

What establishes them aside from various other snake species, nonetheless, is their scalation. Spiny bush vipers have actually extended, highly keeled ranges. Their ranges really protrude from their bodies and make the snakes look extremely harsh. The shaggy appearance is a lot more significant on their heads and smooths somewhat down the size of their bodies. They can be eco-friendly, blue, brownish, or a mix; the shade variant typically makes individuals error them for various other species.

Spiny bush viper
Spiny bush vipers are likewise called hirsute bush vipers.

iStock.com/ Mark Kostich

Spiny Bush Viper Habits

These snakes are nighttime and invest their days relaxing, snuggled in the bushy ends of tree branches and in or around blossoms. Spiny bush vipers are superb mountain climbers and are mainly arboreal, investing the substantial bulk of their lives in the trees. They are ambush predators that utilize their prehensile tails and uncommon camouflage, waiting on victim to roam as well close. Snakes of species specifically like to perch on or hang from tiny shrubs and reeds, waiting on victim.

Unlike the New Globe’s pit vipers, vipers do not have warm- picking up pits. Rather, spiny bush vipers rely upon their superb feeling of odor, vision, and vibratory detects to locate their victim.

They’re not recognized to be hostile snakes and normally favor to leave. Nonetheless, they do not be reluctant to safeguard themselves when endangered.

Environment and Diet

Spiny bush vipers mainly stay in the jungles of main Africa. They live in components of the nations of Uganda, Kenya, and the Autonomous Republic of Congo, where the jungles abound substantial quantities of blooming shrubs, mainly at elevations varying from 2,952 to 8,200 feet (900 to 2500 meters) over water level.

Nonetheless, their distribution seems in rather detached pockets. In a number of the nations where they’re thought to take place, there might just be a solitary spiny bush viper population in a separated location, such as Kenya and Tanzania. In Uganda, there are 2 areas tape-recorded in the main section of the nation and numerous in the southwest.

As a result of their remote areas and somewhatelusive nature, researchers understand extremely little concerning the nature of this species. Also a 2014 research study on the hereditary origins of the Atheris genus just had a solitary example of A. hispida from Kenya, whereas the various other species had several examples from numerous nations. Nonetheless, it’s been observed in both key and second woodlands and in grown shrubland. It appears relatively functional and has actually been observed in high lawn, shrubs, papyrus, climbers, and trees.

A spiny bush viper constantly has a body of water close by, and this is potentially due to its diet. It consumes frogs and lizards mainly, yet tiny animals, birds, and also snails likewise show up on their listing of victim things.

Poison: Exactly How Harmful are Spiny Bush Vipers

Remarkably, there’s very little info on their poison. Some resources suggest that it’s neurotoxic; others state it’s hemotoxic poison. One point researchers do understand is that poisoning differs depending upon the specific snake. It’s feasible (although not validated) that some areas have an even more hemotoxic poison and others a lot more neurotoxic – – as holds true in specific rattlesnake species like the Mojave rattlesnake located in The United States and Canada. The poison alcoholic drink possibly relies on the snake’s recommended victim because area, potentially also the environment, and elevation. No matter, spiny bush vipers are exceptionally hazardous, yet experiences with individuals are fairly unusual. They generally take place in separated areas that are quite much from human negotiations.

There’s likewise no antivenom offered for this species; your best option is to stay clear of obtaining bitten. Nonetheless, if for one reason or another you’re attacked by a spiny bush viper, therapies are normally helpful and carried out on a sign- by- signs and symptom basis. Most individuals recoup without requiring a lot, yet a lot more serious envenomations typically call for a hospital stay.

Predators, Hazards, Preservation, and Population

This species’ broad distribution and total mediocrity in the locations in which it happens provided factor for the IUCN SSC Viper Expert Team to identify it as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Redlist of ThreatenedSpecies Similar to various other snakes in remote locations, it’s almost difficult to obtain a precise population demographics.

There isn’t much info on the spiny bush viper’s wealth. It’s unusual in DR Congo, yet in Kenya, the populaces appear to cycle with plentiful and unusual years. There aren’t any kind of significant risks to the species today. Nonetheless, logging taking place at a boosting rate in those locations might alter this.

Researchers do not understand much concerning its all-natural predators; it has such deceptive practices that the info isn’t conveniently offered. Obviously, its jungle house does not have a lack of predators there are various other snakes and birds that are recognized to exploit snakes – – poisonous or otherwise. With even more research study, researchers will certainly have a much better photo of their way of life.

Reproduction, Children, and Life Expectancy

Spiny bush vipers end up being fully grown at 2- 3 years old. They mate throughout the wet period in between September and October, and the females lug the children for 6- 7 months prior to bring to life approximately 12 neonates in March or April.

When they’re birthed, they gauge concerning 6 inches long and, in bondage, can live for 10- 12 years.


  • Eyelash vipers have spectacular shades and little ranges that hold up from their eyes, like eyelashes.
  • One more big- considered and harsh- scaled snake, saw- scaled vipers are belonging to the majority of Asia and India.
  • Gaboon vipers might not look just like a spiny bush viper, yet they stay in the exact same component of the globe.


  1. Kusamba, C., Branch, W.R., Wagner, P., Beraduccii, J. & Chippaux, J.-P. 2021. Atheris hispida. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T44980127A44980134. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-3.RLTS.T44980127A44980134.en. (2019) iucnredlist.org/species/44980127/44980134
  2. Toxinology.com, Available here: http://toxinology.com/fusebox.cfm?fuseaction=main.snakes.display&id=SN0195
  3. Menegon, M. et al. “The Genus Atheris (Serpentes: Viperidae) in East Africa: Phylogeny and the Role of Rifting and Climate in Shaping the Current Pattern of Species Diversity.” Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 79 (2014): 12–22. Web., Available here: https://www.academia.edu/12387141/The_genus_Atheris_Serpentes_Viperidae_in_East_Africa_phylogeny_and_the_role_of_rifting_and_climate_in_shaping_the_current_pattern_of_species_diversity
  4. (1970)

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