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Old 11-09-2012, 12:56 PM
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Default Keeping Gaboon Vipers

Does anyone keep these here? I'm years (and I mean years) away from ever keeping a DWA species but this one facinates me.

Knowing the effect the venom has on a person, do many people keep these?
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Old 11-09-2012, 02:11 PM
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Yes. Yes i do.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:29 PM
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I know DWA are a different kettle of fish, but would you 'recommend' this speices? Have you had any close brishes with one or do they usually tend to behave?
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:49 PM
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I've never kept them personally but I've caught wild Puff Adders and assisted/ been present with feeding Gaboons... frankly, they are one of the scariest snakes I can imagine getting bitten by, those heads are HUGE, the fangs penetrate right into deep tissue, the amount of venom delivered can be immense and the effects it has on a human body are frightful...

There are two anecdotes related in Ludwig Trutnau's "Venomous Snakes" bible... one concerns a healthy adult male getting bitten by a juvenile, getting to hospital within a few minutes, receiving full antivenom treatment... and ten hours later he was dead... there was nothing anybody could do...

Another concerns a bloke who had witnessed the above bite, getting bitten on the finger... knowing what he could expect, his reaction was to run outside to the shed, pick up a hatchet and chop his own finger off...

Both species strike faster than you can react (usually you only see the "afterimage" of the white inside of the mouth before you even know there WAS a strike). The Gaboons have the advantage of usually being docile and calm... but the way I see it, this is almost as much of a danger as having a defensive snake, as it can result in the keeper becoming complacent... all it takes is the snake to have one bad day...

Often the only indicator of an impending strike you get is a movement of the pupils in the snake's eyes... which is a bad thing, as this species is capable of striking its entire length anywhere around it (including over its tail)... somebody used to having a slow, dopy, docile snake only has to put one hand wrong when the snake is having a bad day and...

They are popular for their pretty colours, mild temperaments and relative ease of keeping... but personally I feel they would be somewhat too much of a risk for me to keep in my own home and have to deal with on a regular basis. Another of those species that crosses the threshold of "risk vs. reward" for me. Having only kept a few small vipers in my youth, I'm really in no position to judge, but I would say they are not a great starter DWA.

Regards,
Francis

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Old 11-09-2012, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Thrasops View Post
I've never kept them personally but I've caught wild Puff Adders and assisted/ been present with feeding Gaboons... frankly, they are one of the scariest snakes I can imagine getting bitten by, those heads are HUGE, the fangs penetrate right into deep tissue, the amount of venom delivered can be immense and the effects it has on a human body are frightful...

There are two anecdotes related in Ludwig Trutnau's "Venomous Snakes" bible... one concerns a healthy adult male getting bitten by a juvenile, getting to hospital within a few minutes, receiving full antivenom treatment... and ten hours later he was dead... there was nothing anybody could do...

Another concerns a bloke who had witnessed the above bite, getting bitten on the finger... knowing what he could expect, his reaction was to run outside to the shed, pick up a hatchet and chop his own finger off...

Both species strike faster than you can react (usually you only see the "afterimage" of the white inside of the mouth before you even know there WAS a strike). The Gaboons have the advantage of usually being docile and calm... but the way I see it, this is almost as much of a danger as having a defensive snake, as it can result in the keeper becoming complacent... all it takes is the snake to have one bad day...

Often the only indicator of an impending strike you get is a movement of the pupils in the snake's eyes... which is a bad thing, as this species is capable of striking its entire length anywhere around it (including over its tail)... somebody used to having a slow, dopy, docile snake only has to put one hand wrong when the snake is having a bad day and...

They are popular for their pretty colours, mild temperaments and relative ease of keeping... but personally I feel they would be somewhat too much of a risk for me to keep in my own home and have to deal with on a regular basis. Another of those species that crosses the threshold of "risk vs. reward" for me. Having only kept a few small vipers in my youth, I'm really in no position to judge, but I would say they are not a great starter DWA.

Regards,
Francis
Thanks for the informative reply I did worry that sticking my head out to ask in the DWA forums ment I might get it bitten off for showing too much interest!

I had read they were not a good DWA snake to start with in Barron's 'Viper' book, there's a small video on you tube about a keeper becoming complacent and getting bitten in America, scary stuff. But then she often let them roam around the room while she cleaned them out, I couldn't believe the idiocy!

Well I've decided to adopt the pair at Chester Zoo, I think that should satisfy me for now
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bash_on_recce View Post
I know DWA are a different kettle of fish, but would you 'recommend' this speices? Have you had any close brishes with one or do they usually tend to behave?
They have a reputation for being sluggish... They are anything but sluggish.

Lightning fast beautiful wads of turd with daggers in their heads springs suscinctly to mind.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bash_on_recce View Post
Thanks for the informative reply I did worry that sticking my head out to ask in the DWA forums ment I might get it bitten off for showing too much interest!

I had read they were not a good DWA snake to start with in Barron's 'Viper' book, there's a small video on you tube about a keeper becoming complacent and getting bitten in America, scary stuff. But then she often let them roam around the room while she cleaned them out, I couldn't believe the idiocy!

Well I've decided to adopt the pair at Chester Zoo, I think that should satisfy me for now
Nothing wrong with asking...

For "starter" venomous, Copperheads are oft-touted, although they are one species I have no experience with... but many European Vipera are wonderful captives, quite docile, remain small and most (V. berus being the big exception) are very easy to keep and breed.

I was catching and keeping Vipera latastei, V. aspis and V. seoanei from when I was about twelve and all three of these species adapted as well to captivity as any other snake I had kept at that point (in fact given that most of the snakes I was keeping were flighty, nervous whip snakes and Montpelliers, I would even say that the vipers did better).
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Thrasops View Post
Nothing wrong with asking...

For "starter" venomous, Copperheads are oft-touted, although they are one species I have no experience with... but many European Vipera are wonderful captives, quite docile, remain small and most (V. berus being the big exception) are very easy to keep and breed.

I was catching and keeping Vipera latastei, V. aspis and V. seoanei from when I was about twelve and all three of these species adapted as well to captivity as any other snake I had kept at that point (in fact given that most of the snakes I was keeping were flighty, nervous whip snakes and Montpelliers, I would even say that the vipers did better).
It suggests Copperheads as a 'starter' venomous snake in the same book, they are quite nice considereing I'd never looked at Rattlesnakes much.

It suggests them it says, because even though the bite is venomous and will hurt, its not likely to kill a healthy adult. Is there other reasons why this snake is classed as a good starter?
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bash_on_recce View Post
It suggests Copperheads as a 'starter' venomous snake in the same book, they are quite nice considereing I'd never looked at Rattlesnakes much.

It suggests them it says, because even though the bite is venomous and will hurt, its not likely to kill a healthy adult. Is there other reasons why this snake is classed as a good starter?
I would guess because they are easy to keep and acclimate and not too fussy when it comes to food, but again I have no experience to speak of with them... I did see a rather good video the other day on the subject of "starter" venomous... let me see if I can find it for you...

Here it is:

Have to admit the Gaboon at the beginning of the video is a gorgeous specimen! Look at that ivory head!
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Old 21-09-2012, 10:38 AM
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Absolutely. Whilst very attractive, these animals have an undeserved reputation for being forgivingly placid which has led some people to treat them with complacency. Admittedly, I've encountered very few, but, for example, I remember one of the former Poole Aquarium staff telling me about males during mating season - not to be messed with. He gave the same warning about assuming their 'gentle' natures. Not that the OP is necessarily.

As Francis mentioned, European vipers are great - Vipera, Montivipera and Microvipera but still not to be taken for granted.
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