Venomous Substitutes

I, like many people, love bush vipers, but I am in NO way prepared or qualified to own any venomous snake, but that got me wondering. What reptiles could I have that are similar to them? I’d love suggestions of bush viper substitutes.

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Maybe a rear fanged venomous snake, hognose (tricolor) or a vine snake. They are very cute, but a bit more experienced than the norm. A carpet Python if you like a bit of sass, or a false water cobra maybe?

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I’m for sure gonna get a carpet(I mean it is my profile picture), but I’m not sure about the other suggestions. It’s not the venom I’m looking for, it’s the other features of the bush viper, like those bright colors, that muscular body shape and the arboreal-ness.

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Amazon Tree Boa?

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You could also look at vine snakes (though some species are mildly venomous, I’m not sure if you’re only referring to hots). For color (other than green) you can look at green tree pythons. Their range of colors can be seen here.

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Ok, wasn’t sure. I second my ideas for a vine snake. They are very arboreal and have a little kick to them that I just love. Mine female is getting more tame by the day, she was nasty when we received her, don’t know why. Must’ve been how she was raised. Love her to death :relaxed: I am biased but I really push for you to get one lol

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Sanzinia either Green or Mandarin. They’re spendy but they’re very viperish in appearance without having any venom to fear.

Edited to add: Honestly, venomous are not entertaining to keep unless you enjoy observing natural behaviors in an artificial habitat. You’ll find you don’t even hook handle them half as often as you’ll handle all python and boa species.

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Yep, hognoses can be super feisty and fun and can look like a derpy cobra with super cute cheeks when they puff up! False water cobras also a great suggestion if you have the kind of space :slight_smile:

EDIT: Hognose if you want something straight out of a meme, but False Water Cobra if you prefer a hardcore, “rough” look to your snake room :slight_smile:

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I always wanted a judgmental shoelace until I figured out they eat anoles. I could never do that to myself…

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I already keep western hogs

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Yeah, I know, I don’t really want to keep venomous animals, I just liked the viper look.

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Yeah, mine only eats live anoles, which is hard for me still today, but it’s life, and that is what it takes to raise and keep a wonderful species. I wasn’t willing to do it for a long time, but mine even sometimes eats frozen/thawed. I have a distributed who does that for his vine snakes who is a close friend of mine. I’m very lucky because of that, couldn’t keep mine otherwise.

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If you want the actual look of a bush viper, eyelash viper, etc. for body shape I’d recommend a captive bred viper boa. For color and temperament id do an Amazon tree boa. For color and temperament of the green color phase vipers, I’d do an emerald tree boa.

Now for ones such as rattle snakes, specifically Pygmy rattle snakes. Normal, Arctic, and Axanthic western hognoses are your best bet for mimicking the overall appearance of Pygmy rattle snakes.

For Gaboon vipers, the best for size would be a blood python. It doesn’t mimic color at all though. But they are short and obese sausages with fragile spines exactly like the Gaboon and rhino vipers.

Some of the ones listed, will actually help you practice your hooking and handling techniques. Especially when you get absolutely nasty and skittish temperamental specimens. Such as an Amazon Tree Boa. My first experience with this species was a long term captive, and no matter the time of day, even if it’s half asleep, it was a heat seeking missile.

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I included Gaboon Vipers and Rattle Snakes into my list, because I know allot of people looking at this thread would probably have questions for those species. But to sum everything up, if you want color and temperament, and similar care requirements, key word being similar, Emerald & Amazon tree boas are a lovely option for bush and eyelash vipers.

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Viper boa. Never had one but it has the word viper in it.

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@trouble 's recommendation of an ATB as a proxy for a bush viper is not a bad one. You do not get the roughed up scales (very few non-venomous have that degree of texture) but attitudes are similar enough. For an eyelash, I would go one further and take it to chondro since both are pretty much just snakes on sticks. Chondros get bigger though.

Honestly, if I was going for appearance, I would get an eastern or, better still, southern as they are pretty much phenotype mimics. That said, both species are harder to care for than their western counterparts and are also significantly more expensive.

If you want something mamba-esque, I would look at whipsnakes or coachwhips, but they need a lot more space that other snakes their size and are incredibly active.

For a cobra analog, I would go with some species of Drymarchon

This is for sure happening, because chondros are no debate my favorite species of snake.

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I would argue that my Eastern Hognose doesn’t remind me at all of a rattlesnake in appearance, the way they can flatten up the entire body and look like a derpy sock vs a rattlesnake puffing up is a questionable comparison. Maybe a southern hognose would be the best of the 2 listed.

But I do agree with everything else you have said. There really isn’t many nonvenomous snakes that are a 1-1 copy of a venomous. That’s what makes this list really difficult to make.

An ATB looks like a skinny underweight severely unhealthy eyelash viper at best. And that’s only because they only have the color variety in common. But still a decent alternative if you are only seeking for color and not body shape.

Less going behavioural and more thinking strict paint job appearance: eastern, dusky, southern
image


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Still staying with the southern personally, but it’s up for everyone to decide for themselves. Easterns are just way too silly looking for me to compare to a rattler. I love my eastern hoggie though. Just not a good rattlesnake substitute for me lol