Any new species is an exciting find. And this one is no exception.
The snake was discovered by a three man team in Tanzania. Only three new species of viper have been discovered in Africa in the last three decades. To prohibit poachers and trophy hunters from hunting the snake, the exact location in Southwest Tanzania is still a secret.
When the team discovered the snake the daughter of one of them was fascinated by it. Tim Davenport is the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania. The little girl was his 5 year old daughter Matilda.
Matilda loved watching the snake. She helped look after it. The team began calling it Matilda's Viper and the name evolved into Matilda's Horned Viper.
Matilda's viper has mean looking yellow and black scales. It has two spiky horns and dull green eyes. It can grow up to two feet in length or maybe a bit longer.
There are twelve of these snakes in captivity now. Because snake counting is difficult, they are not sure how many there might be in the wild. They do have a breeding plan in place.
Mr. Davenport knows that many people are afraid of snakes and Matilda's Viper is especially fierce looking. But the advantage is that snakes keep the rodent population down. And Matilda's Viper is a very calm snake and not aggressive. Even though its bite is probably venomous, most bush viper bites are not fatal.
Although no decisions have been made yet, Davenport would like to begin plans to showcase Matilda's Horned Viper. The Wildlife Conservation Society runs the Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo so those are the places to watch.