Identifying Venomous Snakes: Which Snake Can Sting with Its Tongue?

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

The ability to sting with their tongue is a unique trait among certain snake species. While most people associate venomous snakes with fangs, a few species use their tongues to deliver venom to their prey or predators. One of the most well-known of these species is the Gaboon viper.

Gaboon vipers are native to the rainforests of central and western Africa. They are known for their distinctive triangular heads and large fangs, reaching up to two inches long.

However, their ability to use their tongues to deliver venom sets them apart from other venomous snakes. The Gaboon viper’s tongue is long but also broad and flat, allowing it to absorb and deliver large quantities of venom with each strike.

This makes them one of the most dangerous snakes in Africa and a species to be avoided at all costs.


The Snake That Can Sting with Its Tongue

What is a Snake’s Tongue?


A snake’s tongue is a unique and essential sensory organ that helps it to detect prey, predators, and other objects in its environment. The tongue is forked, and the two tips pick up chemical signals, such as scents and tastes. The tongue then transfers these signals to Jacobson’s organ, a specialized sensory organ in the roof of the Snake’s mouth that helps it to process the signals.


The Venomous Snake with a Stinger Tongue


The only Snake that can sting with its tongue is the Gaboon viper (Bitis gabonica). This Snake is one of the largest vipers in the world, and it is found in sub-Saharan Africa. The Gaboon viper has a long, broad head covered in scales and large, retractable fangs that can deliver potent venom.

In addition to its fangs, the Gaboon viper has a unique adaptation that allows it to deliver venom through its tongue.

The tips of the Gaboon viper’s tongue are modified into small, sharp, stinger-like structures called lingual protrusions.

When the Snake strikes, it can use these protrusions to inject venom into its prey or predator.


How Does the Snake Use Its Stinger Tongue?


The Gaboon viper uses its stinger tongue to deliver venom when it strikes its prey or predator. The Snake typically waits for its prey to approach, and then it strikes with lightning-fast speed. The Gaboon viper’s fangs are long enough to penetrate thick skin, and its venom is potent enough to kill prey quickly.

The Gaboon viper’s stinger tongue is also used to defend itself against predators. When threatened, the Snake will open its mouth wide and flick its tongue toward the predator. If the predator gets too close, the Gaboon viper can strike with its fangs or use its stinger tongue to deliver venom.

In conclusion, the Gaboon viper is the only Snake that can sting with its tongue. Its stinger tongue is a unique adaptation that allows it to deliver venom with deadly accuracy. The Gaboon viper is a fascinating and dangerous snake that should be respected and admired from a distance.


Identification of the Snake

Physical Characteristics


The Snake that can sting with its tongue is known as the “Stiletto Snake” or “Burrowing Asp.” This venomous Snake is found in parts of Africa and the Middle East. It has a slender body with an average length of 20-30 inches.

The Snake’s head is small and triangular, with two small eyes and nostrils. Its fangs are in the front of the mouth, and the Snake’s tongue is long and slender, with a sharp point at the end.




The Stiletto Snake prefers to live in sandy and rocky areas and is often found in deserts and semi-arid regions. It is a burrowing snake and spends most of its time underground. However, it is also known to hide under rocks and other debris. The Snake is most active at night and can be challenging to spot due to its small size and camouflage.




The Stiletto Snake is found in various parts of Africa, including Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia. It is also found in parts of the Middle East, including Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. The Snake is not commonly found in urban areas

and is more commonly found in rural and remote regions.

In conclusion, the Stiletto Snake is a venomous snake found in Africa and the Middle East. It has a slender body, a small triangular head, and a long, sharp-tipped tongue.

The Snake prefers to live in sandy and rocky areas and is most active at night. Therefore, it is essential to exercise caution in areas where the Stiletto Snake is known to live and seek medical attention immediately if bitten.


The behavior of the Snake

Hunting and Feeding Habits


The Snake that can sting with its tongue is the Gaboon viper. These snakes are ambush predators and are known for their ability to camouflage themselves in their surroundings.

They are known to be patient hunters, waiting for their prey to come to them. Once the prey is within striking distance, the Gaboon viper will strike with lightning-fast speed, injecting venom through its long fangs.

The diet of the Gaboon viper consists of small mammals, birds, and other reptiles. They have been known to consume prey as large as antelopes.

These snakes have a unique feeding habit: they will swallow their prey head first. This allows for easier digestion and reduces the risk of injury from the prey’s claws or beak.


Reproduction and Life Cycle


The Gaboon viper is a viviparous species, meaning they give birth to live young rather than laying eggs. The female Gaboon viper will carry her young for around 8 months before giving birth to a litter of 20-40 young snakes.

The young snakes are born fully developed and are capable of hunting and defending themselves from predators. However, they are still vulnerable to larger predators and often hide in burrows or under rocks to avoid detection.

The Gaboon viper has a relatively long lifespan, with some individuals living up to 25 years in the wild. However, due to habitat loss and hunting for their skin and meat, the population of Gaboon vipers is declining in many areas.


Prevention and Treatment of Snakebite

Preventive Measures


To prevent snakebites, it is essential to take certain precautions. For example, one should avoid walking barefoot where snakes are likely to present, such as tall grass, rocky areas, and bushes; when hiking or walking in such areas, wearing protective clothing such as long pants and boots is advisable.

One should also be careful when handling rocks, logs, and other objects in the wild, as snakes can hide in them.


First Aid


If a snake bites someone, it is essential to act quickly. The first step is to move away from the Snake and call for help. The person should remain calm and avoid moving the affected limb as much as possible.

The bite wound should be cleaned with soap and water and covered with a sterile bandage. It is essential to note the time of the bite and the species of the Snake, if possible, as this information will help determine the appropriate treatment.




The treatment of snakebites depends on the bite’s severity and the Snake’s species. In some cases, antivenom may be necessary to neutralize the venom. However, this should only be administered by a trained medical professional.

Pain relief medication and antibiotics may also be prescribed to prevent infection. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

In conclusion, preventing snakebites is the best way to avoid their potential dangers. However, in the event of a snakebite, acting quickly and seeking medical attention as soon as possible is essential.

About the author

Latest posts

  • Can You Pick Up Grass Snakes? Tips and Precautions

    Can You Pick Up Grass Snakes? Tips and Precautions

    Yes, you can pick up grass snakes. However, it’s important to handle them gently and with care to avoid causing them any harm.   Is It Safe to Pick Up Grass Snakes?   Grass snakes are non-venomous, harmless snakes commonly found in grassy areas and gardens. They are docile and generally not aggressive towards humans.…

    Read more

  • Can Grass Snakes Hurt Cats? A Clear Answer with Expert Knowledge

    Can Grass Snakes Hurt Cats? A Clear Answer with Expert Knowledge

    Grass snakes are not harmful to cats. They are non-venomous and typically avoid confrontation with larger animals. In fact, they are more likely to flee when encountering a cat. However, it’s always best to supervise your pets when they are outdoors to ensure their safety.   Potential Risks to Cats Bite Risks   Grass snakes…

    Read more