The snake is from a family of vipers that has fangs protruding from the sides of its mouth. Not only that, but it can launch itself a distance equal to its own body length.
Three specimens of the snake were found in the rainforests on the border of Guinea and Liberia, West Africa by a team of scientists. Who presumably approached it from either the front or the back. Because of the sideways fangs, it’s not like you can hold these snakes from behind their heads, like you can with other species.
These fossorial and venomous snakes are famous for their unique skull anatomy and venom delivery system, enabling them to use a single fang to bite, with closed mouth, in a lateral stabbing movement,’ explained the researchers who found the snake, which has been named Branch’s stiletto snake, or ‘Atractaspis branchi.’
The Variable burrowing asp (Atractaspis irregularis) is a nocturnal and terrestrial snake species found across large parts Africa.
The team, led by Dr Mark-Oliver Roedel from Berlin’s Natural History Museum, published their findings in the open-access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution.
The discovery of a new and presumably endemic species of fossorial snake from the western Upper Guinea forests is not very surprising,’ they reported.
However, further surveys are needed to resolve the range of the new snake species, and to gather more information about its ecological needs and biological properties.