Viper Bites a Bird
YouTube: Smithsonian Channel

Viper Takes Down Large Bird in Stunning Slow-Motion Strike

A gaboon viper can move at 20 feet per second, and when it attacks, it's astonishingly fluid.

In this video, a venomous female viper finds a poultry dinner, and you get to see all the action in slow motion.

Watch as the hungry and deadly west African gaboon viper (bitis gabonica) waits patiently for its prey before launching an incredibly accurate and speedy attack.

This snakebite happens fast. Fortunately, they filmed this attack in slow motion, allowing us a close look at one of the most dangerous snakes on the planet in action.

Did you even notice that the venomous snake was in the leaves before it attacked the bird? Not only can this viper move fast, it's also a master of camouflage. The color of its skin makes it hard to find in leaf litter of the forest floor.

That bird didn't stand a chance, even though the viper missed on its initial strike. Part of that is thanks to the fact that this animal has the longest fangs of any snake species on earth. Fortunately for us, they prey upon mostly small mammals and the bird you saw here. Despite the small prey, this animal has an incredibly potent venom yield.

This true viper's venom is often compared to that of the equally feared king cobra. Despite the miss, the animal quickly fixed that mistake and sunk its teeth into the prey. After only 10 minutes, the venom had killed the small animal. Lucky for us, the species is not aggressive and gaboon viper bites on humans are rare.

Bites from this species require treatment with antivenom. The bite is said to cause a lot of pain and blistering. Some people have even soiled themselves uncontrollably. However, that's a preferable symptom to hypotension, internal bleeding, shortness of breath, and necrosis. Some patients have suffered tissue damage that lead to amputations.

Fortunately, this animal is found mostly in isolated rain forest regions of west Africa like the Congo, Nigeria, Gabon, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Snakes like the viper are talented hunters equipped with dangerous venom and lightning-fast agility. Don't get in the way of these creatures (but you'll probably be bitten before you even see it anyway).

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