June

Namaqua Dwarf Adder (Bitis schneideri)

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Family: Viperidae.

Size: 18-24cm.

Distribution: They are distributed along the western coast of southern Africa, from the mouth of the Olifants river to Luderitz Bay in south-west Namibia. The species is endemic to Southern Africa.

Description: Small stocky adder with a distinct head and a pale to dark-brown colouration.

Habits: Inhabits semi-vegetated sand dunes close to the coast where it ambushes unsuspecting prey from low-lying bushes. It is alos known to bury itself just beneath the surface of the dune sand much like the peringueys adder (Bitis peringueyi) from Namibia.

Reproduction: Gives birth to 3 or 4 live young in late summer.

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Sub-species: None. It was separated from the horned adder (Bitis caudalis) in 1975 by Wulf Haacke.

Conservation concern: Least concern. Was originally considered vulnerable but thanks to extensive work by Dr Bryan Maritz, they have been found to be rather abundant throughout much of their range.

Diet: Small lizards and occasionally frogs.

Danger to man: The venom of this snake is mild and it has not been known to have any serious effects on humans.

Predators: Small mammals and birds of prey.

Similar species: The peringuey’s adder (Bitis peringueyi) and other species of the genus Bitis.

Interesting Facts: It is the smallest adder in the world.

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Sources:

Branch, B. 2016. Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town. STRUIK Nature.

Bates, M.F., Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M., Burger, M., Marais, J., Alexander, G.J. & de Villiers, M.S. (eds). 2014. (CD set). Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

 

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