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Snakes: Interesting Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Find, identify & discuss the marine species of SANParks
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Pilane
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Unread postby Pilane » Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:07 pm

Blackmamba wrote:I have been going to Kruger for many years. Dec 2003 we stayed at a lodge just outside Kruger there were so many snakes, ever night when we came walking back from having dinner we would get right up close to them and they would then slither off the warm path way. Dec 2005 we stay at the same place and nothing not one snake can anyone tell me why?


Blackmamba, very clever question......
It has all to do with environmental factors as rainfall, temperature, availability of food which in turn is also dependant on its own environmental factors. (sometimes also influenced by external human factors :( )

I do not know the spesific rainfall figures (2003/5) for the area you talking about :roll: but It basically comes down to less rain -less food - resulting less snakes in their natural habitat but more in and around your home....... :twisted: as they look for food..... who in turn looks for food in your home.....

(Different species will react differently to the same environmental conditions though. i.e. a limiting factor for one species is not always a limmiter for another species.....)
Last edited by Pilane on Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Meandering Mouse
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Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:13 pm

You have an interesting name Blackmamba.
Do you know what kind of snakes?
Your name suggests that you do have a special interest in snakes.
.. and welcome to the forum :!: :!:
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Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:19 pm

2005, until about November, was a very bad year in terms of rain.
It was at the Park in October, and it was the most desolate I had seen.
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

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Unread postby Blackmamba » Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:11 am

Hi there Macho Mouse, and thanks for the welcome. To say I have a special interest in snakes is an understatement to say the least, I am obsessed with them (specifically the Black Mamba). So hopefully I can learn more from these discussions (forums) and I love reading stories about people's encounters with them.
CANT WAIT TO GO AGAIN!!!

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Snakes: Interesting Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Eagle Eyes » Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:03 am

Hi everyone! Although I haven't been posting for a while, I have heard about the recent debate involving the snakes in the Kalagadi and have read an interesting article on puff adders in the Wild Magazine. I have also read books about snakes and since a young age have always taken a keen interest in snakes. Therefore I have decided to post a few interesting facts about the infamous puffies. If any of you know something cool about these reptiles you are welcome to post.

The Puff Adder

Puff adders are found almost everywhere in South Africa (surprise! :twisted: )
They prey on rodents and other small mammals.
Puffies' venom is cytotoxic and causes intense and severe pain and massive necrosis (tissue damage) in the area of the bite. Depending on were the bite occurs on your body and how long it is before treatment amputation may be necessary.
Although adult puffies seem more threatening to your health, babies are far more dangerous, I quote "because they haven't learned to control their venom."
The puffie is known as South Africa's most dangerous snake and is describes as fat, lazy and bad-tempered.
This is not true but puffies are of a stout build and have a different hunting strategy to most snakes.
The puffies do not have special heat sensors like rattlers or even good eyesight and so rely on smell and sensing the vibrations created by moving objects.
Due to this, they will lie in wait for their prey and many a human will stumble on them because of the snakes' excellent camouflage.
Even when you are near, the puff adder will not bite.
It will warn you of its presence and will try to get away.
If you continue to threaten it, it will coil into the strike position and will inevitably bite.
All this can be averted if you just keep a sharp eye and respect the snake.
Don't try to get a close-up photo or to touch it.
The strike is lightning fast. You can't dodge it.
When you find yourself near a puffie don't run either.
Back slowly away until the snake is out of sight.
Never turn your back on the snake.
Even if you are bitten, do not cry yourself to death in a hospital bed because you just "know" you're going to lose your leg.
Many snakes give dry bites as a warning.
In these strikes, the snake doesn't inject any venom.
Even if venom is injected, the snakes treat it like gold as it takes a lot of time to make.
The snake will inject the least amount of venom possible.
The only exception is when the snake has already been teased to breaking point or has already bitten you.
To sum this all up: if you treat snakes with respect you will not be bitten.
Leave them alone because this is their planet too.

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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Mfezi » Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:02 pm

Hi

Excellent subject, Eagle Eyes :clap: .

I would like to mention that the Stiletto snake (Atractaspis bibronii, cannot be safely held behind the head like any other venomous snake. It turns its head to the side and stab you with a fang. Hence the name: Side stabbing snake. Other / older names include: Bibron's burrowing asp and Mole viper. It has a STRONG cytotoxic(tissue destroying) venom and no antivenom is available.

Be careful

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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Chappie » Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:37 pm

MM We're happy to share these photos which have recently used in our TR.

The patterns are so beautiful and perfect!

Image

Image
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Eagle Eyes » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:20 pm

@Chappie - Thanx! Great pix :clap: :clap: :clap:

Here is another Puffie - CT style! 8)

Image

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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Eagle Eyes » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:23 pm

@Mfezi- Thanx for the cool facts about the Stiletto Snake! Awesome! :clap: :clap: :clap:
Do you know where we can see this snake as I wouldn't like to bump into it.

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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Hugh » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:02 pm

A few years ago I nearly stood on a puffie while coming down the track from Table mountain . He was sunning himself in the afternoon sun and we were tired after climbing from the top I noticed a brown shadow on the cement road and thpught it was a log. and just as I was about to step over it I realised it was a nice plump puffie I carefully stepped back and the puffy slowly wiggled into fynbos.. All So could worry about that if I was bitten who was going to carry me down ( this was before Cell phones)
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Macchappie » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:44 pm

Chappie omitted to say that the pattern of the scales is unique and distinctive to each snake, like a human fingerprint.

Interesting thread, Eagle Eyes :thumbs_up:
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Eagle Eyes » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:59 pm

@Macchappie- Thanx!

*Another Interesting Fact*

Many herpatologists are bitten when they are holding a snake behind the head. Snakes will bite through their own lower jaw to inject venom into an unsuspecting finger that has strayed from the correct hold.

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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby JustNature » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:14 am

Great topic Eagle Eye, will check at home, got some interesting facts too and first aid tips from a course I did. Did not know the Puffies gave a dry bite, but know the cobras do. MM I think the neuron toxic bites are more painful as this attacks the nervous system and most of the puffies are cyto and neuro toxic, the Gaboon Adder is the deadliest adder and thankfully only found more tropical areas like St. Lucia, its venom is cyto, neuro and haemo (causes bleeding) toxic.
Last edited by JustNature on Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Dupacc » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:16 am

We saw this beautiful Puff Adder on S28 on 30 June 2010.


Image


Image



When we stopped to take the photos, it actually moved towards and then under our car. We waited for it to appear at the other side, but it did not. Leaning out through the windows, we saw that it made itself at home inside the rim of the left rear wheel :shock: :shock: We did not know what to do and I imagined how I arrive at Croc Bridge and ask the Ranger to remove a angry, drunk-spun Puffy!!

Luckily when I moved off (slowly) it got out again.
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Re: Interesting and NB Facts About Puff Adders and Other Snakes

Unread postby Eagle Eyes » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:37 am

@JustNature- I didn't know about puffies being both cytotoxic and neurotoxic. I know that some puffie bites have complications and sometimes the venom can indirectly cause similiar effects as some other types of venom. I know there are some snakes that do have two types of venom but I'm not sure which. I couldn't find anything on puffies though... :huh:

@Dupacc- awesome pics. It must have been scary. In Botswana a few people get bitten when puffies crawl under their car and manage to get under the car seat. The people get out, don't find the snake and then get bitten when they go back to their cars. I'm not positive this is true but I'm sure it could be. :|


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