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Meet the Puff Adder by Richard Bartlett on 2021-01-18 00:31:00


A captive puff adder.

By Dick and Patti Bartlett

The Puff Adder (Bitis arietans) is probably the most common and widespread of all African snakes.Except for rainforest and montane regions, this dangerously venomous and irritable snake may be found over most of the southern 2/3rds of the African continent. It can also be encountered in Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Capable of both linear (slow and in a straight line like a caterpillar) and serpentine (side-to-side) movement, when possible the Puff Adder relies mostly on its camouflaging colors for protection and exemplifies the term sedentary. When frightened, either purposely or accidentally, these snakes coil and expel the breath in loud, easily heard puffing-hisses (hence the common name) and often strike savagely.

Adult at 30 to 40 inches in length, rare examples of this very heavy bodied adder may attain a length of 4 feet. They are primarily terrestrial, often common in grassland habitat, but are able to climb and may bask a few inches above ground in shrubs. They swim readily.

In keeping with its sedentary behavior, the Puff Adder is an ambush predator, waiting quietly for its prey of mammals, birds, amphibians, and lizards to approach within striking distance.

Reproductively active Puff Adder male often follow the pheromone trails of females and engage in combat matches. Live bearing, a clutch usually numbers between 20 and 50. The neonates are 5 to 7. The largest clutch recorded numbered 156 newborns. Continue Reading "Meet the Puff Adder"

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