West African Night Adder. (Causus maculatus) This was probably the most common West African snake around. A brown little thing with a really neat V on it's head. Ate mostly small toads and frogs. Poisonous, but only mildly so. Had a couple of these at various times, but only small ones. A week before leaving Liberia for Sweden, someone gave me a really big one about 2 feet long, but we let it go. No more time for cool snakes.
Black-Necked Spitting Cobra (Naja nigricollis). I always wanted to see one of these, but never got the chance until given a dead one preserved in alcohol. Probably just as well, as they spit venom from specially designed fangs, aiming at the offender's eyes. Black, with red markings on neck.
Forest Cobra (Naja melanoleuca). The West African color phase is a beautiful glossy black cobra with white markings on lip and underside. I think we saw one of these once, zipping across a jungle road. They had a nice one at the Tubman Zoo, on the road to Monrovia. One of the largest African cobras, it grows to over 8 feet, and though it is mainly a terrestrial snake, it is also quite at home in water and in the trees. Natural habitat is forest and woodland.
Gaboon Viper. (Bitis gabonica) Also known as the Cassava Snake (or was that the Puff Adder?), these things are so well camouflaged, that they are virtually impossible to see among dead leaves, even when in plain sight. They have a few of these in a well designed terrarium at Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco. Stare at a patch of leaves for a minute, and suddenly you notice a snake that has been lying there all along.
Ball Python. (Python regius) A beautiful small african python. One of my father's colleagues had one in a vivarium on his porch, and I'd often go visit him to look at his snake. Grows to about 5 feet, and is known for its longevity. One specimen in the Philadelphia Zoo had a recorded lifespan of a little over 47 years! The longest-lived snake on record.
I also remember a non-venomous tree snake whose young were bright yellow with black stripes, turning completely black as an adult. I also saw some kind of small arboreal viper, hanging out on a fence by the swimming pool.