The average lifespan of the butterfly viper in captivity is 8.3 years.
Butterfly vipers are sometimes found in shallow pools and have been described as powerful swimmers.
Butterfly vipers display sexual dimorphism as females are larger and males have more subcaudal scales.
After the butterfly viper sheds its skin, the bright colors fade quickly as silt from their moist habitat accumulates on the scales.
Because of the butterfly viper’s restricted geographic range, few bites have been reported and no statistics are available, but at least one death has occurred.
The butterfly viper is a slow-moving snake that uses its scales for movement, stretching its skin across its ribs and releasing the tension to slither, like other snakes.
Butterfly vipers are bred domestically and sold online in the exotic pet trade.
The butterfly viper’s closest relative is the rhinoceros viper (Bitis rhinoceros), which has a duller color pattern, wider head, and lacks the distinct, black arrow mark on the head.
The butterfly viper is known as the “River Jack” because of its moist habitat preference and often lives near water or in a swampy environment.
The butterfly viper’s scales are so rough and heavily keeled that they can inflict cuts when being handled.
The butterfly viper has hollow fangs that deliver venom deep into the snake’s victims but are folded into the roof of the mouth when not in use and shed every 6-10 weeks.
Primarily nocturnal, the butterfly viper hides during the day in leaf litter and holes or around fallen trees and tangled roots of forest trees.
The butterfly viper is viviparous, giving live birth to 6-38 offspring at the start of the rainy season in March and April.
When approached, butterfly vipers often reveal their presence by hissing, said to be the loudest hiss of any African snake—almost a shriek.
Although terrestrial, the butterfly viper uses its partially prehensile tail to climb into trees and thickets in search of food and has been found up to 3 m. above ground.
Relatively little is known about the toxicity and composition of the butterfly viper’s single hemotoxic and neurotoxic venom, but it’s supposedly less toxic than that of a Gaboon viper.
The butterfly viper is known as the “rhinoceros viper” but that name can cause confusion with its close relative, also known as the “rhinoceros viper”, (Bitis rhinoceros).
As an ambush predator, the butterfly viper is a non-aggressive, slow-moving, placid animal and will not bite unless provoked or hungry.
The butterfly viper can strike with lightning speed, up to half its body length, in any direction.
No subspecies of the butterfly viper are currently recognized.
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The beautiful color patterns of the butterfly viper varies among individuals as Western specimens are more blue, while those from the East are more green.
The butterfly viper is 1 of 15 puff adder species, named for their characteristic threat display in which they puff up and enlarge their bodies to twice their normal size.
The butterfly viper is carnivorous and feeds on smaller prey than the Gaboon viper, such as toads, frogs, fish, and mice.
The butterfly viper is one of the most dangerous and venomous snakes as just small doses of its venom can be deadly, destroying tissue and blood vessels and causing internal bleeding and massive hemorrhaging.
One of the butterfly viper’s most distinguishing characteristics is its small, flattened, narrow, triangular-shaped head with a dark triangular-shaped marking on the back.
The butterfly viper inhabits forested areas and tropical forests and rarely ventures into woodlands.
The butterfly viper is endemic to central and western Africa and has a more restricted range than the Gaboon viper.
Butterfly vipers are large, stout, heavy-bodied snakes that average 60-90 cm. in length, but can reach up to 2.1 m.
The butterfly viper has not been evaluated by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and is thus classified as “Not Evaluated.”
The butterfly viper is an ambush predator, relying on cryptic coloration as camouflage to hide from its prey.
The butterfly viper is also known as the “rhinoceros viper” because of the 2-3 horn-like projections it has above each nostril.