Namaqua Dwarf Adder (Bitis schneideri)


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.


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.



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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