Puff Adder… Africa’s deadliest. (Well I think so)….

Any where from below the equator in Africa, you can find the Puff Adder. A deadly snake that can reach 1.2 m or 4 ft. long, a body girth of 30 cm or a ft. and fangs the size of sewing needles just a lot thicker.

It will lie quietly next to a pathway and when you virtually stand on it, bite you on the ankle… not that it was waiting for you, it was waiting for its prey. Will it get out of your way? No.

This species is responsible for more fatalities than any other African snake. This is due to a combination of factors, including its wide distribution, common occurrence, large size, potent venom that is produced in large amounts, long fangs, their habit of basking by footpaths and sitting quietly when approached.

The venom has cytotoxic effects and is one of the most toxic of any vipers. Cytotoxic, kills cells. Venom yield is typically between 100–350 mg, with a maximum of 750 mg. About 100 mg is thought to be enough to kill a healthy adult human male, with death occurring after 25 hours. A painful death I’m told…

So my recommendation is … stay away from the blunt end of this footless killer… I have caught many and relocated them, but I have probably killed just as many for frightening the becheeeezes out of me…

At the show….

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Well camouflaged in the grass….

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But I thought I’d show you some captures I’d made before of one I could get up close to…

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Angry looking snake… she is talking to me … “Come closer, I want to bite you Bulldog” I was very close, but because of the way she lay on the tarmac she could not have struck at me without first moving her head and coiling her body… How do I know she is a she?? The female has a shorter tail than the male…

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75 thoughts on “Puff Adder… Africa’s deadliest. (Well I think so)….

  1. Great shots …. and the face of those kids are so brilliant – they are really taken by what is going on with that snake.
    Snakes, friendly or not …. we don’t agree … I think I have phobia, but I was really fascinated by a green snake at New Orleans Zoo, one of the most beautiful creatures I seen …

  2. That is one mean looking snake! I’ve just caught up on reading your last few posts that I’ve missed – the snake ones are putting me off wanting to visit South Africa! I guess the vast majority of people never get bitten, but still, some do!

  3. They have a tail?! To me they are one gigantic tail. That is one nasty piece of work I hope to never encounter.
    The photo of the tongue is really interesting though. It looks like a piece of rubber – or black licorice.

    • Joanne… not something I go looking for, in fact I’m happy if I never see one… I love that photo,,, always seem to miss it with the tongue out…

  4. Ewwwwwwww. I hate snakes of all kinds but this one seems to be among the most horrible! Glad I live well above the equator and not in Africa!

  5. Wow, this one is really scary looking, I’d never heard of these – thanks for the education. I’m going to warn our friend who’s working in Cape Town for awhile about these guys.
    Brenda

    • The Puffy is not to be played with unless you know what you are doing,, he strikes so fast and so far that people underestimate the distance to him.. not one to play with…

    • Thanks RoSy… grew up with these things so know what to expect and how to handle them… the one on the Tarmac was pretty docile as it was a cold morning and it desperately needed some heat…

    • Thanks AD.. I used a little zoom for those photos.. was at least a metre away from it… they are too fast sometimes in their reactions, but this one I captured on a cold morning trying to get some latent heat from the tarmac…

  6. The Puff Adder looks like another perfectly evolved killing machine. With such a wide girth and powerful looking jaws I presume it can swallow quite large prey.

    • “Laughing” LuAnn this is almost beginning to sound a bit like a “mine is … than yours” arguments.. I think if I saw a rattler in real life, not behind glass but in its natural habitat I might think differently, just the thought makes me feel I might not like yours…

    • Hi Diana… yes there are, a good pair of hiking boots would probably do the trick if they are of the height ankle protecting type… unfortunately if you see the stats of who is bitten the most it is those that are walking bare foot or with slip slop type shoes…

  7. Ugh! Can’t wait for warm and fuzzy critters again. 🙂 You are either braver than I thought or crazier…perhaps both. 🙂

    • Thanks Mrs P. grew up with these things all my life, learned to handle them from a young age… Dad taught me… I don’t think its either brave or crazy, I think it is for nature that I move them…

  8. I have met perhaps more puff-adders than any other poisonous snake. Their striking distance is astonishing for such a fat, sluggish-seeming snake – the whole body can launch through the air.. True; they don’t move unless given time and opportunity. They DO move, however, when they know they have been spotted and that you are staying out of strike range but not going away.

    Their saving grace, though, is that distinctive sound from which they get their name. Not so much a hiss as a loudly whispered ‘whaa!’.followed by a whooshing, blowing sound.. My ears are always tuned for that; it is the due warning they give.

    • How right you are Col… Not a snake to get to close to unless well extended as this one was… I have caught and relocated more of these than I want to remember, but I have probably killed more than I wanted to either, for that very reason you mention… I see you but I’m not moving.. Ok then I’ll strike at you… that is when I smash his head in… as for that puff, heard it a few times at night when in the army, and when you’re not allow to show a light it is the cause of a underpants change… one bloke I know heard it in the foxhole with him… he jumped out… he said at orders he would rather the major send him to DB than be in the hole with a puffy you can’t see but can hear… the major mentioned the terrorists, he said he fancied his chances against them not against a Puffy…

  9. I have hear tales of mystics meditating in the forest and the snakes kept watch over them from other predators. I wonder if it’s true or if it’s mythology?
    Also, there are ‘sake charmers’ in some countries. I wonder what’s that’s about as well.

      • Yah, I think mythology as well.

        But the snake charmers are a mystery because they do seem to know how to have snakes in a trance — maybe it’s induced by certain tones within the music that snake charmers only know how to play; because it seems to me they use a flute to charm the snakes.

    • Let me put it this way Pat… if this snake had of struck at me.. I’d be showing you photos of a dead snake… I’ll get out of his way and not harm him, but let him try to harm me and he’s dead…

      • I wouldn’t be so confident – I’ve seen one of their strikes beat a stick, held at the ready-to-hit, to the draw – only thick overalls saved the stick-holder.

        • Col if someone is stupid enough to get within striking distance he deserves the bite… I have never got into that range, but if he strikes he will die… I will be calm and friendly, if he doesn’t want to, then off your gone…

    • It is a very slow mover and the handler would have plenty of time to stop any attempts to bite a child… but it is probably a good lesson to let the kids see it up close so that if they see it again … get the hell out of there would be the message, unless you know what you are doing… dangerous things these…

    • It is mean Cindy.. terribly mean… I have a friend that had the smallest of nicks, not even a scratch on his finger from the fang of one of these and his finger turned black and actually changed direction by 90 degrees,,, nothing they could do about it and as I say, a mere scratch…

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