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Snake: Puffadder

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Freda
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Snakes: Puffadder

Unread postby Freda » Sun May 15, 2005 4:13 pm

Puffadder (Bitis Arietans)

Latin Name : Bitis Arietans
Length_F : 1 100 mm
Length_M : 1 090 mm
Order : Squamata
Family : Viperidae
Description : This thick, heavily built snake has a large, flattened, triangular head and large nostrils which point vertically upwards. The body is yellow-brown to light brown, with black, pale-edged chevrons on the back and bars on the tail.
Class : Reptilia
Subspecies : 2 races are recognized: B.a. arietans and is replaced in Somalia by B.a. somalica.
Distribution : Throughout the subcontinent, north through the whole of Africa to Southern Arabia.
Breeding : Large litters, usually consisting of 20 - 40 young are born in late summer.
Venom : Cytotoxic.
Diet : Rodents, sometimes birds and even other snakes.

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Unread postby Tabs » Thu May 19, 2005 11:09 pm

wildtuinman wrote:BTW, the puffadder bites more people in SA than any other snake.


This is mainly because the puff-adder is a very sedentry snake which spends most of it's time lying up in grass only coming out in the open during the early morning (to sunbathe) and at night. Other venomous snakes tend to lie up in trees or under rocks or other cover and are often more visible due to their colouration.
Unsuspecting people tread on the very well camoflagued puff-adder as they walk through the veld and the puff-adder reacts by biting their 'attacker', mostly on the ankle or calf.

With most wild animals, if you give them an escape route they will run rather than attack but, if you invade their space or accidentally or deliberately harm them they will resort to defensive action. However, the puff-adder is less likely to run away than most other snake species and so extra care must be taken when out walking.

I have been very close to puff-adders (and other venomous snakes) but have never had any reason to fear attack as I am very cautious about my approach and am very careful when walking 'off-road'.

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wildtuinman
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Fri May 20, 2005 5:55 am

Of all most dangerous snakes in SA the puffadder has got the one of the fastest strikes.
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francoisd
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Puff adder

Unread postby francoisd » Tue Jul 12, 2005 1:38 pm

Just had some adrenalin for lunch. Was out on our premises trying to creep up to some Cape Francolins for a photo. Next moment I feel something "rubbery" under foot and hear a loud hiss.

Could only manage this photo of the poor puff adder that had to bear part of my 100kg weight! Anyone care to identify it.

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Last edited by francoisd on Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby DinkyBird » Tue Jul 12, 2005 2:36 pm

From a snake pamphlet I keep close at hand just incase (it gives tips on what to do if bitten). Thought you 'd be interested in the remarks on the colouring.


Puffadder - An easily identified species, being heavy-bodied with a flat, diamond shaped head. Colours vary from bright yellows and black to a drab brown and black variety. The cytotxic venom makes it the most dangerous snake in the Border region, causing intense pain, massive swelling and tissue necrosis...
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madach
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Unread postby madach » Tue Jul 12, 2005 3:09 pm

This shows how well these snakes are camouflaged :shock: It also shows that these animals usually give a warning before they strike. I think my heart would have stopped if I'd heard that warning hiss.

Count yourself very lucky that you didn't step on it. Although you are close to an excellent medical facility (Stellenbosch Mediclinic) you would have been in a helluvalot of pain and would have suffered from serious tissue necrosis :cry:

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SAHGCA-UCT
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Unread postby SAHGCA-UCT » Tue Jul 12, 2005 9:47 pm

Definately a puff adder IMHO

Definately a lucky man. We had an encounter with a poffadder on our farm in touws rivier. With a young niece standing on one while i was tryin to show off my tracking skills to her on the trail of the local bbj

The only thing that saved her life was our walk started at 7am, and with being poikilothermic the snake was still gathering heat from the sun and was in a trance like state while doing so. They are extremely sluggish while cold (temerature drops pretty drastically at night) and luckily it was too cold to slither away let alone strike.

Wintertime is a lucky time (if there were to be a lucky time) to step on or surprise any snake.

kinda makes you want to walk about in thick jeans and waders for a few weeks after an experience like that

nice to have you still posting :))

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francoisd
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Unread postby francoisd » Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:12 am

wildtuinman wrote:Francoisd, how loud was the hiss. A puffadder hisses like nothing else.

Very loud. At first I thought I stood on a big mushroom or something that was now deflating due to the better part of 100kg stepping on it, but then I saw movement? Must say that this all happened in less than 2 seconds.

wildtuinman wrote:Also how long was it approximately?

About 1m, so I think this is the mom or dad of the other Puff Adders on our premesis

wildtuinman wrote:I say it is a puffadder and that u r an awesome lucky man as a puffadder's strike is one of the fastest in the world and it is the typical way many people get hit by a "puffy" in africa everyday.

As mentioned somewhere above it is winter time now. We had some warm days in Stellenbosch the past two days and this snake was lying in a patch of sunlight. I'm sure it was not fully awake or else I would most propably not have had time to take a quick photo :shock: I also stood on the snake's head that might jave helped a bit. At least I now have an idea of where to find one if I ever need to.

wildtuinman wrote:you must live an honest living... :wink:

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francoisd
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Unread postby francoisd » Wed Jul 13, 2005 2:05 pm

Interesting thing was that 5 Guinea fowl walked past the same spot were the snake was lying (they must have been nearly on top of it) without the snake making any sound. It only sounded when it saw us. Maybe it did not see the birds as a threat?
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Tabs
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Unread postby Tabs » Thu Jul 14, 2005 12:35 am

DinkyBird wrote:What does one do if bitten by a puff adder?


You should apply a tight bandage (such as a crepe bandage) to the wound to prevent the toxin from spreading; check for SABC (Safety - the snake is no longer in the area to bite you!; Airway - it is open and the victim is not vomitting or is otherwise restricted; Breathing, is it regular or distressed?; and Circulation - do they still have a heartbeat?

First Aid qualifications are not only important in the bush but, as I can personally testify having attended road accidents, are important in every walk of life.

Only Cytotoxic envenomation should be treated with a tight bandage however - haemotoxic and neurotoxic envenomation require different first aid treatments.

I thoroughly recommend the Game Ranger (Field Guiding) course on wildlifecampus (www.wildlifecampus.com) which has a module which is specifically focussed on first-aid for snake bite and there are a couple of books (the titles elude me right now) which give comprehensive information on this subject. Anyone who is interested in these books can pvt me and I will happily look out my books and give you the titles and USBN's

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Unread postby Elsa » Mon Jun 12, 2006 4:50 pm

We came across this Puffadder lying on the H4-2 last Tuesday at about 4.30pm. We thought it might have been run over at first as it seemed very reluctant to move but then on closer inspection noticed that its tongue was flicking in and out.

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Unread postby mafortini » Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:33 pm

I came across these two puffadders having a wrestling match near Nwanetsi last April. They didn't appear too agressive, so I don't know if it was territorial or not.

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Unread postby mafortini » Fri Jun 16, 2006 12:18 pm

Thanks, forumites. Can anyone tell the sexes of the snakes? Is it two males in territorial combat or a courting couple?

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bert
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Unread postby bert » Fri Jun 16, 2006 1:37 pm

Found some info on the net
Pofadders have fierce courtshipdances (males) and the best dancer goes of with the female. (Dutch site)

And they mate from april - may

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Unread postby Katja » Fri Jun 16, 2006 10:25 pm

mfb wrote:female snakes generally have shorter tails than males.

Where does the body end and the tail start? :hmz:
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