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Zoo Buddy: Gaboon Viper

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 10:04 AM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - In our Zoo Buddy segment this Tuesday, November, 17th, we’re highlighting a Gaboon Viper at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo.

We got a behind the scenes look at the reptile building to visit JR, the zoo’s Gaboon Viper.

“Gaboon Vipers are from Africa they are the largest viper in Africa and pretty amazing camouflage happening here,” explains Lisa Taylor with the zoo.

She says these snakes are venomous and their bite is deadly.

“They have the neuro factor to them and the hemotoxin factor to them so not only does it affect your blood and your tissues but it also affects the nerves in your muscle tissue. They are deadly when it comes to a bite,” says Taylor.

Taylor says their heads are shaped like a leaf, so they camouflage well in the leaf litter on the rain forest floor.

“These guys can actually get close to 6 feet long, they’re pretty heavy snakes and their heads can also almost get about 4-5 inches wide across the top,” says Taylor. “If you look at his head he has these two beautiful little horns on the tip of his nose and also a really cool feature of these guys. They have the largest fangs of any snake, their fangs can actually get about two inches long.”

Taylor says they are ambush predators too.

“Let’s say a little small rodent walks by and the snake basically just lays there until it does, cause it can’t see it and bam he nails it with this very powerful venom and holds on to the prey,” describes Taylor.

The zoo is open Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the train is open too for $3 a ride. Admission for adults is $6 and $3 for kids. The zoo will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.

Click here to learn more about Gaboon Vipers.

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