Posted By Lauriel O. Posted On

“Puff Adder” The most venomous snake found in north to south Africa

The puff adder is thought to be responsible for more snake bites and fatalities than any other species in Africa.

This large snake is so-named because it will puff up its body to appear bigger than it is when directly threatened by a predator or person.

As a highly aggressive and venomous species, contact with them should be avoided at all costs.

This article will cover some interesting facts about the identification, size, location, venom, and diet of the puff adder.

– Appearance and Description –

The puff adder is a very thick, medium-sized snake, measuring an average of about three feet long.

It is characterized by tan, brown, gold, and even gray skin colors with irregular wavy patterns, alternating between dark and light, along the side of the body.

The subdued colors help them blend in with their natural habitats. Although the sexes are otherwise similar to each other in appearance, females can be distinguished from males by the slightly shorter tail.

The size difference should help quite a bit in the identification of the sexes.

The puff adder can be found in various semi-arid locations, including savannas, open forests, and grasslands, throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Arabia, and Morocco.

These snakes do need a source of water nearby and an adequate amount of coverage. However, they are not generally found in the rainforest habitats of central Africa.

The diet of the puff adder consists of rodents, birds, frogs, other reptiles, and even small deer. Juveniles consume smaller animals and insects as well.

Surprisingly, they do provide some benefits to humans. By controlling vermin populations, they prevent pests from consuming crops and spreading diseases (although this is often outweighed by the number of people they kill every year).

How Dangerous Are They?

The puff adder produces a powerful toxin that directly αttαcks and destroys tissue.

Some of the effects of its toxin include bleeding, swelling, pain, nausea, local muscle weakness, and tenderness.

The venom is intended to completely immobilize smaller prey so they cannot escape from or injure the snake in any way.

Although the venom is highly dangerous, the prognosis is generally quite good for people who receive the antivenom treatment in time.

Without the antivenom, however, the fatality rate can easily exceed 15% (depending on the severity of the bite).