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Puff Adder (Bitis arietans)

Classification: Dangerously Venomous

Other Names: Pofadder

The Puff Adder is widespread over much of South Africa and elsewhere further north into Africa. It is a heavy-bodied snake that relies on its excellent camouflage and is reluctant to move. Much of its life is spent in camouflage mode and recent research has shown that when hiding, the Puff Adder will not hiss or strike when approached, as this would give away its presence.

It is an ambush hunter that will coil up into a striking position and await its prey. This can last several days or even weeks. Toads are lured closer with flicking of the tongue.

Puff Adder venom is potently cytotoxic, causing severe pain, swelling, blistering and in many cases severe tissue damage. Polyvalent antivenom is effective and should be administered sooner rather than later. Fatalities are quite rare.