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  • Writer's pictureMartha Iserman

Rhino Viper

Bitis nasicornis

AKA: The Butterfly Viper, River Jack, Rhinoceros Horned Viper, Horned Puff Addler

A beauty with a bite, it's our first snake on the Dope Nopes list, the Rhino Viper.

The rhino viper comes from the BitiI family of reptiles, which is the most perfect scientific name in zoology. This includes other formidable snakes like Puff Adders and the Gaboon Viper. They are found in the swampy forests of western and central Africa, which is how they got the nickname River Jack. It's viviparous giving birth to 6-35 live lil cuties.

A large snake, it ranges between 28-42in (72-107cm) long but can be up to 4 and a half feet. For such a large reptile, it has a relatively small head that is triangular-shaped and flat. He's also a bumpy boy with scales that are rough and heavily keeled.

But like the best shirts by Dan Flashes, it's all about the pattern.

Because the pattern's so complicated!

Many consider it to be the world's most beautiful snake due to its brightly colored design.

Golden yellows surrounded by bold reds and blue-green patches, you'd think such a brightly colored creature would stand out but it's actually the opposite. The complicated pattern helps it camouflage in the sun-dappled undergrowth filtering down to the forest floor. The colors range slightly depending on the habitat, darkening under more darkened canopies, but they're always stunning.

And there's a reason it's called the Rhino viper. There are 2-3 raised scales on the tip of its head that resemble horns.


But of course, this beauty can be a beast. They can fold their fangs into the roof of their mouth, and they can pack a punch. When biting prey or defending themselves they unload a hemotoxic venom is deadly, attacking the victim's circulatory system and destroying tissue and blood vessels. If you are unlucky enough to be bitten by a Rhino Viper you will most likely die of blood hemorrhaging. A real bummer.

Fortunately this doesn't happen often, because despite being a formidable predator, it's actually quite subdued and prefers to avoid people. It's kinda shy, and like other introverts it will let out a hiss through its nose when it feels threatened to avoid having to use deadly force. It's actually said to be the loudest hiss of any African snake and has been compared to a shriek.

It's also known to be fairly slow, meandering through the swamps and undergrowth at a leisurely pace. That is until it's hunting. This nocturnal predator prefers to ambush its prey, which it does with a strike at lightning speed. It prefers rodents, but will take frogs, fish and other reptiles if available. Though it is known to be mostly terrestrial, it has been found in trees as high as 9 feet, which is a terrifying thought when wandering through the forest.

Can drop at any moment

So the Rhino viper is a Libra, balancing a bunch of contradictions. A terrestrial dweller that can be found in water and trees. A slow moving shy guy that strikes at lightning speed with deadly force. A beauty and (a little bit of) a beast.

So what do you think? Is it DOPE? Or a NOPE?

Do you agree on the outcome of the Duck Death Match? Comment with your thoughts!!!


Hemotoxic- toxins that destroy red blood cells, disrupt bloodclotting, and/or cause organ degeneration and generalized tissue damage. The term hemotoxin is to some degree a misnomer since toxins that damage the blood also damage other tissues.

Viviparous- bringing forth live young which have developed inside the body of the parent.

Terrestrial-living on or in or growing from land

  • S., A. (2022, June 1). Rhino Viper. AZ Animals.

  • Fun Rhino Viper Facts For Kids. (2021). Kidadl Team.

  • Bitis nasicornis. (2022, February 6). In Wikipedia.

  • Bitis nasicornis. (n.d.). The Reptile Database.

  • Bitis nasicornis (Rhinoceros Viper). (n.d.). Animal Diversity Web.

  • Rhinoceros Viper: WhoZoo. (n.d.). Https://Www.Whozoo.Org/.



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