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Terrified, extremely poisonous snakes that can bite through human hands have just been discovered in West Africa


With its poisonous teeth, a burrowing serpent can cause catastrophic ha.rm. West Africa has discovered a new species of stiletto snake that can slash sideways and jump a distance equivalent to its own body length. A team of scientists researching in the jungles of southeastern Guinea and northern Liberia discovered three specimens that were eventually confirmed as previously undiscovered species. The snake belongs to the viper family, which has teeth that protrude from the sides of their jaws, allowing them to attack victims with their deadly fangs from an odd angle and without even opening their lips.

Because of their peculiar physiology, the group is also known as mole vipers or burrowing asps, and they cannot be handled like other snakes by holding them behind the head. While the majority of these burrowing snakes are not poisonous enough to kill a human, some can cause severe tissue necrosis, which can result in the loss of a finger or thumb. Branch’s stiletto snake, or Atractaspis branchi, was named after South African herpetologist Professor William Branch, a world-renowned expert on African reptiles who di.ed in February 2017.

A team led by Dr Mark-Oliver Roedel of Berlin’s Natural History Museum discovered it. The new species resides in the unspoiled rainforest and on jungle borders in the western Upper Guinea woods, a vulnerable region known for its rich wildlife. Branch’s stiletto snake is most likely indigenous to this region, according to the researchers. The first specimen of the new species was discovered at night on the steep bank of a tiny rocky riverbed in Liberia’s lowland evergreen rainforest.


When the snake was picked up, it sought to bury its head behind body loops, bending it at an almost straight angle so that its fangs were partially exposed on the sides. Then it hit again and again. It leaped nearly as far as its entire body, according to the team. The other two specimens utilized in the species description were obtained about 27 kilometers apart from banana, manioc, and coffee farms in south-eastern Guinea. “The identification of a new and possibly endemic species of fossorial snake from the western Upper Guinea woods… is not very remarkable,” the researchers said.

“However, more studies are required to determine the distribution of the new snake species and to acquire more information about its ecological demands and biological features,” they noted. The team’s findings were published in Zoosystematics and Evolution, an open-access publication.


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