Puff Adder.. Not a Rapper..

African puff adders (Bitis arietans).

Bitis arietans is a venomous viper species found in savannah and grasslands. It is responsible for causing the most snakebite fatalities in Africa owing to various factors, such as its wide distribution and frequent occurrence in highly populated regions.

The venom has cytotoxic effects and is one of the most toxic of any viper. The venom yield is typically between 100–350 mg, with a maximum of 750 mg. About 100 mg is believed to be enough to kill a healthy adult, with death occurring after 25 hours.

An ugly snake to be avoided in the bush as he will not move away like most snakes, but will strike with deadly force and cause a very sore painful bite.

When I was an learner Land Surveyor, involved in a job at Victoria Falls in Rhodesia I came across one of the biggest Puffies I’d ever seen. Thinking it dead, I poked it with a survey rod and it struck immediately, not being the conservationist I am now, I killed it. That evening we all met at the Peters Motel for drinks, it had the biggest pub in the area (at least 20m long, 60 foot), I took my now dead snake with me, the pub was full of tourists and locals and on entering tossed it on the pub counter. 30 seconds later the pub was empty, the two barmen had exited via the dirty glass opening (smashing 100s of glasses) and I stood laughing my head off…. some how the Manager/Owner was not amused and banned me for life… I took Linda there many years later… he remembered me, but after explaining I’d settle down and was no longer “bush happy” he forgave me… I’m still sure he loaded my bill that day… here’s some photos of one I found the other day… he refused to go into the strike pose which is very strikingly (no pun intended) beautiful….probably too cold…

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34 thoughts on “Puff Adder.. Not a Rapper..

  1. Oh My God! You know they all make me afraid, but but but your photography is amazing and great. The first one (I can’t believe myself how I express like that 🙂 but) FASCINATED me. wonderful shot. Thank you dear Rob, be in safe while taking photograph in there… Love, nia

  2. I can’t imagine how anyone would be able to really see the likes of him in the brush or any other place of concealment. To have a snake that venomous and able to strike as he does, would be a terrifying thing indeed. Great photos…and conservationist or not, the temptation to kill them would be very strong indeed. I admire your attitude…not the one in the bar! 🙂

    • Thank you… as a youth I would have killed without a second thought… but when it comes to the choice between him and a rat.?? he wins.. when walking in the bush one is of a nature to not look down, after all you are looking for game and birds… but there are certain areas where one is more careful, where you would expect to find them.. I have moved so many of them merely to save their lives from others who would kill.. they do do a lot of good in controlling vermin, just too lazy to move away…

  3. Wonderful story, bdt. You were a very naughty boy when you were young. You’re wife will probably say that nothing has changed. 🙂 Great photos, but I’m keeping well away from the screen, 🙂

  4. That was a very ‘wild’ thing to do in the pub! I know I would have smashed my way out of there as well! Apparently snakes are still venomous even when they’re dead 😀 Great pics!

    • Yes they are if you get you self tangled up with their fangs… any folded fang that is opened up is basically primed… and venom can drip from the fang… but if its alive he will pump it into you… I had a friend you got merely a scratch from a fang on his finger.. the finger rotted and actually bent sideways, his finger was like that till he died from other causes many years later…

      • Oh – the poor thing!

        Speaking of which – my neighbor on the farm came over to get a snake out of my bathroom one night and it bit him – he got very sick, but survived (thank god!). It was only a python so he got blood poisoning…

    • I agree I had a cobra standing swaying in front of me hood out.. I was so fascinated by his look I forgot to take the photo… and then could not get him to raise again… fascinating creatures… there’s only one I won’t play with and that’s the black mamba…

  5. Yikes! We have rattle snakes around here, they seem mild compared to this guy. Appears you and my hubby have similar traits…..a couple of “wild” dudes in their youth 🙂

    • I do believe that the rattler is of a similar type snake and there is a connection some where… must Google it …
      Yes the days of yore… bad boys .. just looking for fun…

  6. Oh my goodness, Bulldog! That was a funny as hell story! I can imagine it happening….love your wild streak (bet it’s still in there a little itty bit!) and that snake looks pretty darn scary to me!

    • Thanks Julie… I was not the most popular sailor on the ship that day… I will never forget the dressing down I got from my Boss who happened to be where I dropped the perfect specimen without a mark on it…. they all thought it was alive…
      It took a while and then he saw the funny side of it…

  7. Amazing shots here bulldog, look at that tongue! You were a rowdy guy in your youth. Great story though, bar full of wimps! He looks big enough to make some nice boots. Did this one just eat or is he just that shape?

    • I think he has eaten recently but they are a fat snake, consequently the name Puff… but when they curl up for a strike they are really beautiful, (if something dangerous could be considered beautiful) but being early morning and fairly chilly for this time of the year he would not co-operate… no matter how much I pulled and pushed…

    • I’d go with the Hurricane, it looks terrible from here… and after all the puffie is good for the land… eats all the rats and things we don’t need a overdose of… the hurricane you can do without… hope all’s safe where you are…

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