African Bush Viper

African bush vipers are a species of vipers found exclusively in Africa. They are venomous snakes like all other vipers. They are called bush vipers because they live in bushes and can blend into their environment because of their exceptional camouflage.

Scientific Classifications

  • Suborder:Serpentes
  • Family:Viperidae
  • Genus:Atheris
  • Species:A. squamigera

Conservation Status

Not EvaluatedNE

Not Evaluated

Data DeficientDD

Data Deficient

Least ConcernLC

Least Concern

Near ThreatenedNT

Near Threatened





Critically EndangeredCR

Critically Endangered

Extinct in the wildEW

Extinct in the wild




African Bush Viper Snake


The average body length of African bush vipers is 18 – 24 inches (46 – 60 cm). Sometimes it can grow more than 31 inches (78 cm). Females are larger than males.

Color and Appearance

These snakes can be of different colors. Their dorsal color varies from light green to dark green, blue, olive, or dark olive brown. Red, yellow, or slate grey dorsal color occurs rarely. They have broad, flat heads covered with light-colored, keeled, and imbricate scales, sometimes with 30 or more chevrons. Their tails also have 10 to 19 undefined chevrons and a conspicuous ivory-white tip. When their skin is stretched, an interstitial black color is visible. They have yellow throats, and the color of their bellies is yellow or dull to pale olive.

Red African Bush Viper
Green African Bush Viper
African Bush Viper Blue

Are They Dangerous to Humans 

The general symptoms of an African bush viper bite are severe inflammation, fever, impaired breathing, and in rare cases, life-threatening hemorrhages. Severe hematological complications in humans have been reported only once. The occurrence of death is very rare, reported only on two occasions. It has no anti-venom, but the anti-venom of the genus Echis is partially effective in neutralizing its venom.

African Bush Viper at a Glance


African bush vipers live in western and central Africa, ranging from Bioko Island, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Gabon, northern Angola, southern Nigeria to Cameroon, southern Central African Republic, Uganda, Tanzania, to western Kenya.

Atheris squamigera


They live in rainforests, preferring low and thick flowering bushes.


The lifespan of these vipers is 10 to 20 years.


Some large birds and snakes of the same genus prey on bush vipers.


 Small mammals are their regular diet, occasionally feeding on small birds and reptiles.


They reproduce once a year during the wet season. Viviparous by nature, the females can give live birth to a maximum of 19 snakelets in a single litter. On average, 7-9 snakelets are born in one litter. Their gestation period is two months. Females become sexually mature at 42 months, while males are ready to breed at 24 months of age. 

Care Sheet

Size of Enclosure: A terrarium of medium-to-small size is sufficient for these vipers. A vertically oriented terrarium of 15 to 20-gallon capacity is a good fit for them.

Substrate: Substrates that can be used in their enclosure are soil, cypress mulch, old paper towels, or newspapers. It is better to use a natural substrate as it can retain moisture better.

African Bush Viper Picture

Humidity: Bush vipers prefer to live in a moist environment. A humidity level of 70% – 80% should be maintained in their enclosure.  A water source must be kept, or the room should be misted with water from time to time.

Temperature: Being cold-blooded animals, bush vipers require external heat to warm their bodies. The temperature of their enclosure should be around 80⁰F.

Lighting: They don’t need light in their enclosure because they are nocturnal species. However, a light source like a heat lamp is sometimes kept in their enclosure for heating purposes.

Diet/Feeding: These snakes feed on live prey that is small in size.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *