Gaboon viper

There are more than 250 kinds of vipers, a family of venomous snakes. The largest of all is the Gaboon viper. At six feet long, this massive viper is a ferocious predator that hunts birds, frogs, and many small mammals in the tropical forests of Africa. When the Gaboon viper strikes, its huge fangs deliver a toxic venom that destroys its victim's nerves, tissues, and blood cells. Its prey escapes… but not for long.

Scientific name: Bitis gabonica
Range: tropical Africa
Characteristics: poisonous venom; massive body with bold, symmetrical scale pattern; prominent "horn" above its mouth
Size: 1.8 meters (6 ft); 10 kilograms (22 lbs)
Diet: small mammals
Cool Fact: The pupils of its eyes are vertical -- one clue that this snake is active at night.

Image credits: main image, © AMNH.