Bitis gabonica gabonica (Bit-g) = Gaboon viper/= Butterfly. adder


The Gaboon viper is the largest and most beautifully marked of the African adders and by bulk the largest viper in the world. Adults average 120cm in length, but specimens of up to 2m are found.

There are two races of Bitis gabonica described in terms of their morphology and geographic distribution: the variant found in West Africa, Bitis rhinoceros, has a pair of horns on the snout and keeled scales, while the East and Southern African variant,

Bitis gabonica gabonica. The colouration of the two variants is the same as is the composition of the venom (Marsh et al:764). Colouration is as follows: - on the body is a ground of rich brown to purple, superimposed on which is a series of quadrangular yellow to buff markings over the middle of the back with brown interspaces; the head is pale buff to chestnut with a dark median line; underparts are yellowish and the eyes are silvery grey.

For the most part the Gaboon viper is found in the moister rainforest areas where its camouflage is adapted to the dappled light of the forest floor. It is said to be very sluggish and can strike swiftly when provoked, as with other adders (FitzSimons 1980:190). However, that it is nocturnal and conceals itself during the day (Marsh et al 1997:764) and is considered rather docile in temperament must account for the short list of victims, since a bite from Bitis gabonica is invariably rapidly fatal due to the quantity of and depth to which the venom is injected by the massive fangs - see below (Visser & Chapman 1978:35-36). It is this which must account for its fearsome reputation as the volume of venom delivered is “extravagantly in excess of anything they might need for killing their prey” (Lane M,cited in Marsh et al 1997:764). Prey is usually ambushed and generally consists of rodents, monkeys, mongooses, hares and birds. The snake is viviparous, the young are large and the litters are large - often up to

60 in West Africa, but smaller (16-30) in Southern Africa. Its venom is similar to the puffadder (Bitis arietans) but yields are between 450-600mg in a single bite as compared to 100-350mg for the puffadder - 100mg being a fatal dose in humans. Bitis gabonica can be said to produce the largest amount of venom of any poisonous snake and yields in excess of 2 grams of dry venom per milking have been documented (Whaler B.C, cited in Marsh et al 1997:764). As stated above, bites from this snake are rare but serious. Large amounts of venom are injected deep into the tissues resulting in rapid swelling at the site and then the whole limb. Pain is intense, haemorrhagic oedema and blistering at the bite follows rapidly and hypotension, cardiac damage, dyspnoea and unconsciousness may occur; there is haemorrhage, with haematuria and haematemesis possible sequelae; necrosis and the need for amputation are possible; death is not rare (Spawls and Branch 1995: 116-118). The four main modalities of toxicity are disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC, with the production of large thrombi in the vacular tree and thus the potential of fatal embolism), haemorrhage, hypotension and cardiotoxicity. Ultimately, death will most likely be the result of cardiac damage. One of the early effects of the haemorrhagins may be pulmonary oedema and dyspnoea. In the case of a successful hunt, haemorrhage is unlikely to occur in the short time it takes for the prey to die so the purpose of the haemorrhagins is most likely to aid in digestion of the carcass (Marsh et al 1997:768).


Vergleich: Siehe: Schlangen allgemein:



Mind: Absentminded


Anxiety (# contentment/# tranquillity/# cheerfulness/from excitement)

Aversion to all persons



Cheerful (after sadness)

Company - aversion to/desire for

Concentration difficult [cannot fix attention/studying (= reading)]

Confidence want of – in self/from family and friends


Confusion (on waking/from mental exertion)

Consolation, aversion to

Conversation - </aversion to


Delusions - being alone/is not appreciated/out of body/body looks ugly/child is sick/division/body enlarged/is friendless/is nor herself/is not ignorant/taken placebo/separated from the world/were separated from himself/

body and mind separated (while taking)


Dullness (in morning)


Excitement in afternoon

Fear [of death/takes breath away/sudden at night on waking/on waking]



Forsaken (“As if isolated”)

Frightened on waking

Ideas abundant, clearness of mind (on waking)


Indifference with aversion to work

Insecurity, mental


Irritability (16 h./in morning/on waking/# cheerfulness/to her family/becoming overheated/and sleepy/at trifles)


Loathing at oneself

Marriage unendurable, idea of seemed

Medicine, desire for more

Memory - weak for what just done/for recent facts/for what he has heard

Mental exertion, aversion

Mistakes - in time confounds days/in writing (omitting letters/transposing letters)

Mood – #/changeable

> Occupation

Offended easily


Pities herself

Prostration - at night/from vexation

Quiet, wants to be

Rest, desire for

Restlessness – anxious/move must

Sadness (afternoon/evening/when alone/> afternoon/< company/> occupation/from trifles/on waking/when unoccupied)

Sensitive (to criticism/to noise/to reprimands)


Spaced out feeling




Thoughts – disconnected/of the past/persistent/rapid/repetition of


Weeping – causeless/< consolation/no desire to be comforted/for want of consolation/desire to/from forsaken feeling/> mental exertion/silent/from S232  Weeping, vexation, from S232

Vertigo: Afternoon

> Closing eyes/sitting

“As if falling from a height”

Head: Congestion/Constriction [in temples (ext. to jaw)]


Heaviness - in forehead (desires to close eyes)

Pain <(<(<( viele )>)>)>

Eyes: red in morning

Dry in morning

“As if enlarged” (l.)


Inflamed upper lid r.

Itching in morning

Pain - in evening/< pressure/aching/burning/cutting in lid/drawing the eyeball backward/”As from sand” (> rubbing)/sore [at night/(on motion of) lids/r./l.]

Photophobia - in daylight/sunlight

Sensitive to touch

Swollen - l./morning/”As if swollen”

Vision: Accommodation too slow


Dim, reading

Foggy during headache - mist before eyes

Ear: Formication behind the ear

“As if full”

Itching in meatus r. (< scratching/< rubbing)

Noises buzzing

Pain – r./l. ext. left eye during headache/behind (r.( ear (pulsating)/in (edge of) lobe (1. r. 2. l.)/in meatus/piercing/sore (behind the ear/l./in front/in lobe)/stitching

Nose: Catarrh – r./postnasal

Coryza – morning/with or without discharge [l./in daytime/morning (after rising)/albuminous/clear/copious/like egg white/salty/thick/watery (l./watery/in cold room/yellow)]

Dry inside (l.)

Obstruction (r./l./morning/at night/+ watery discharge/> blowing/in warm room)

Pain - from dryness/< pressure/burning (l.)/rawness after blowing/sore (in posterior nares)

Sneezing (at night/in cold air/without coryza/> eating/frequent)

Tension inside

Smell: Acute

Face: Coldness with perspiration

Dry lips

Heat flushes (in cheeks)

Pain - pressing (in maxillary sinus)

Sensitive to cold of lips

Swelling around eyes in morning

Tension - below eyes/in jaws (lower/r.)/around mouth and nose

Mouth: Dry lips

Itching (under) tongue

Pain – sore in palate (r.)/sore tongue (in spots)

Saliva – saltish/Salivation - + nausea/profuse

Sensitive tongue

Taste metallic


Throat: Anxiety and apprehension in throat

Coldness, sensation of

Dry - morning on waking/in oesophagus

Hawk, disposition to with thick mucus in the throat and mouth

“As if a lump” (swallowing)

Mucus in throat (morning)

Pain - drinking/> eating/drinking cold/swallowing/burning in oesophagus/scratching/sore (+ dryness/on waking)/”As from asplinter”


External throat: Pain – soreness

Sensitive at angles of jaw

Stomach: Anxiety

Appetite – capricious/ravenous in afternoon

Eructations during anxiety

“As if a lump”

Pain – aching/burning (noon/> after eating)/sore

Thirst (morning/afternoon/evening)

Abdomen: Distension (morning on waking/at night/during constipation/in hypogastrium/from flatus)


Heat during menses

Movements internally


Pain (in morning/cramping in crest of (l./above)/cutting in hypogastrium/stitching, sudden, once)

Rectum: Constipation - > eating ameliorates/ineffectual urging and straining/insufficient

Diarrhea - in morning/noon/# constipation

Flatus (at night/+ pain in head/smells offensive as eggs spoiled)


Urging – sudden/while walking

Stool: copious/mucus, jelly-like/watery, frothy

Kidneys: Pain in morning on waking

Urine: Copious

Female organs: Coition - enjoyment absent/painful


Leukorrhoea – bland/thick/white

Menses painful atz beginning

Pain - in l. ovary (> bending l. leg/> sitting)/ext. to back/in uterus (gradually comes and goes/during menses/paroxysmal/> rubbing/> lying on side/> sleep)/in vagina during coition/bearing down in uterus and region < walking/

Cramping (before menses/in uterus during menses)/pressing in l. ovary/sharp in (l.) ovaries/sore in vagina during coition/squeezing uterus

Sexual desire – increased/diminished

Respiration: Coldness of breath

Desire to breath deep

Difficult - evening in bed/lying (impeded)

Sighing (when lying)

Wheezing night

Chest: Anxiety internal

Constriction – lying/behind sternum r.


Oppression (heart/behind sternum)

Pain – r./> eating/> eructations/behind sternum

Pain – sore in mammae/stitching in l. lower ribs

Palpitation of heart

Perspiration in axilla

Back: Pain - > lying on back/l. cervical region (night)/burning between/r. scapulae (< motion)/sore (in spine)/stitching (at night/under scapula)

Stiffness in (r.) cervical region

Stretch, desire to

Tension [in (l.) cervical region/in dorsal region/in lumbar region (> motion)]

Limbs: Cramps in lower limbs walking

Dryness – feet/between toes

Eruptions - upper limb rash/nates, boils/thigh – rash/boils/between toes

Jerking - of upper limb/forearm/hand/l. thumb/l. lower limb

Pain – l. shoulder/aching [hip/knee (< pressure/walking)

Perspiration - in hand (+ dryness of feet)

Fingers sensitive to cold

Sleep: Bad


Falling asleep difficult



Remain in bed, desire to

Sleepy in – daytime/afternoon (13 h.)/after waking

Sleepless from coryza


Waking - after midnight/with foreboding/with a feeling of dread/too early/too late

Yawning – afternoon/> eating

Dreams: Amorous/Anxious/Chaotic/of the dead/(dead) relatives (parents)/Exciting/Family/Fantastic/Fights/being forsaken/Freedom/Frightful/Humiliation/Hurry/being nauseous/Nightmare/being paralysed/People

laughing at her/Pursued by animals (bear)/Strange/Threats/Throat painful/Unremembered

Skin: red spots/dry/rash

Generals: Becoming cold (during perspiration/heat and cold)

Food and drinks: Aversion: (rich) Food; Desires: chocolate/coffee/sweets/warm drinks/hot food;

> Lying on side

Heat, flushes of (with perspiration/ext. upwards from the hips)

Pain in joints

> Rubbing

“As if swollen”

Weakness [in daytime/morning (on waking)/afternoon/evening/from loss of sleep]


At this point in the discussion it is necessary to deal with the proving material as if the symptoms were all found in a single prover, thus painting the remedy picture of the patient who fits the remedy perfectly or which the ideal prover might generate (Sherr, 1994).

Various themes expressed themselves in the mental and emotional sphere during the proving: Isolation/being alone/desire to be alone Panic/feeling threatened

Separation from self/scattered Depression/sadness/crying Well being Irritable Sensitivity Mistakes/poor concentration/forgetful Confidence/lack of confidence Mental activity: hyper/hypo-active Calm/confusion


The most prominent symptom was the isolation, a sense of being alone, forsaken or a desire to be alone. Overall there is a feeling of social detachment, of being an ‘outsider’. We see this reflected in the peculiar symptom of feeling scattered, separated from themselves: “felt they were looking at my face and I was behind my face looking out; I wasn’t in myself; I couldn’t connect with people. I feel very alone”. This and other aspects of the remedy reflect the ‘Divided’ nature of the snake remedies. They feel panicked and as if they are under threat, like most snake remedies. They have a delusion that they are divided, that body and mind are divided, that they are separated from themselves in some way. This aspect of the remedy also shows the duality of contradictory or ‘balancing’ states – that is that the subject may feel alone but at times will also want to be alone and prefers his own company. Almost all well proven remedies will show such contradictory symptomatology. Notable in this regard is the sadness and depression that is contradicted by the overwhelming sense of Well being felt at other times. We begin

to see a nature which is sad, melancholic, brooding, tearful and sensitive on the one hand, while on the other it is happy, joyful, positive, motivated, at one with self and the world. The duality is further observed in the general condition of being energetic or drained, hyper- or hypo-active, in a heightened state of mental activity or being ‘slowed up’, flat, tired. They are irritable, moody, insecure, oversensitive and confused or they are calm and confident, unusually so. An unusual amount of mistakes are made, letters are missed out when writing, dates are confused, memory is poor, concentration is lacking and the patient is unusually forgetful. Of minor importance in terms of their frequency but interesting due to their appearance in the proving of Bitis arietans are the symptoms: feeling sure they were on placebo, and sensation of bloating after taking the remedy. The former was confirmed to a greater degree than reflected in the diaries during post-proving discussions.

The dreams produced by the proving could be grouped under 4 themes: Isolation Chaotic/Fragmented Of Parents and Relatives, both dead and living/Conflict/Fear/Escape

No dreams were shared between subjects in any detail beyond the thematic similarities.

Headaches were very common. They tended to be left sided, mainly in forehead and temples and tended to refer to the eyes, notably though the neck was also affected. There was a strong tendency to the eyes and root of nose as well. They are worse for cold and cold drinks, better for warmth. They are better lying, especially on their left side. The pain is mainly of a pressing nature. There is heaviness and constriction.

Again we see the left side being more affected and the sensitivity to cold. Discharge is mainly clear, watery or albuminous and usually worse in the morning. It is also more commonly postnasal.

There is tension in the throat. It is worse in the morning, for cold drinks and swallowing in general. They have pain, mucus and dryness in the throat as well as the sensation of a lump in the throat.

They can become cold easily and they have flushes of heat. They desire coffee, chocolate, warm food and drink and sweets. They feel better for lying, especially on their sides. They can be weak at any time of the day.

They have a swollen sensation and are better for rubbing and occupation and tend to be worse on waking.

Again more affected on the left, there is the sensation of, as well as actual, swelling and inflammation. The eyes feel heavy. They can be sore and the lids tend to be more affected than the eyeballs.

Vision is blurred and the eyes are light sensitive.

Sexorgans: Of main interest here are the pain symptoms. Again the left is more affected and the pains are better for lying on the side. They seem to be worse for movement/walking and the pains are felt mainly in the ovaries and uterus. There is vaginal discomfort during coitus. A thick, bland, white Leukorrhoea may be seen.

Notably have a lot of muscle twitches, predominantly in the upper left limb. The feet are dry and their hands perspire. Rashes and boils may be seen on upper and lower limbs. There may be pains in the knees (walking).

They have pains in their ears, mainly on the lobe and behind the ear and in the meatus that is not better for rubbing or scratching. The right ear is more affected than the left. They have a sensation of fullness and there are buzzing noises in the ear.

The cervical region and the left side are most affected by stiffness and pain. The symptoms are definitely worse at night and better for lying. There is tension, stiffness or pain. Of note elsewhere are the following symptoms: distention/bloating in the abdomen; diarrhoea, constipation and sudden urging; difficult respiration, sighing and desire to breath deeply; oppression of the chest, pain and constriction behind the sternum; difficulty sleeping at night with sleepiness in the day; thirst, burning pain and the sensation of a lump in the stomach; there is a metallic taste in the mouth and profuse salivation, the palate and tongue are sore.



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