Matilda Horned Viper

New Venomous Viper Species Found in Tanzania

The world’s newest snake is a fierce looking fellow. He has Black and yellow scales devil horns. Matilda’s Horned Viper made its debut today in an issue of Zootaxa. It is the newest species of snake and the first one discovered in years.

Tim Davenport is the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Tanzania and was on the team that discovered the snake. It carries his daughter’s name.

Davenport told the Associated Press,

“My daughter, who was 5 at the time, became fascinated by it and used to love spending time watching it and helping us look after it. We called it Matilda’s Viper at that stage … and then the name stuck.”

Matilda’s horned viper is only one of three new vipers found in the world in the last thirty years. This is a significant discovery because they are so rare. They are keeping the discovery site secret so trophy hunters will not know where to hunt the snake.

Twelve of the snakes live in captivity. It is next to impossible to even estimate how many of them live in the wild.

Davenport makes it a point to explain to people that even the venomous snakes are not really harmful because they are not very aggressive.

Davenport said,

“This particular animal looks fierce and probably is venomous (though bush viper bites are not fatal). However, it is actually very calm animal and not at all aggressive. I have handled one on a number of occasions.”

The Wildlife Conservation Society runs the Bronx Zoo and the Central Park Zoo in New York. Davenport speculated that it either place would be a great place to showcase the viper.

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