Snake of the week: the rhinoceros viper

Blog 12 May 2020

This week’s CSRI snake of the week is Bitis nasicornis aka the rhinoceros viper, butterfly viper, river jack or horned puff adder. 

They have distinctive sets of nasal scales or “horns” and can be found in the wetlands and tropical forests of Central and West Africa. Rhino vipers give birth to live young (they are viviparous) and they have a surprisingly small neck leading to an arrow shaped head. Their venom is both hemotoxic and neurotoxic potentially causing internal haemorrhage and cardiac arrest.