Puff adder characteristics
Puff adder, a kind of viper, is large in size and it’s about 1 meter in body length. Some large species can grow up to 1.9 meters and these species can weigh over 6 kilograms. However, there are some comparably small species too. As an example, the Arabian puff adder only grows up to 80 cm. Male puff adders are larger than females.
The puff adder has a triangular and rounded snout. The front of its snout is blunt. But, the head is larger than the neck. Like other snakes, its body is covered with scales. The head of a puff adder is yellowish-white and scattered with dark blotches.
The color of its scales varies according to geographical location. Some species have dust-brown or blackish appearance. Whereas, some have straw yellow, light brown, orange, or reddish-brown scales towards the dorsal side. It has a yellow or white belly with a few dark spots.
Range & habitat
Puff adders are found in savannas and grasslands of Morocco, western Arabia, and Africa. They aren’t found in the Sahara and rainforests. However, the puff adders are the most common and widespread snakes in Africa.
Their habitat ranges from sub-Saharan Africa to the Cape of Good Hope. The range includes Morocco, Senegal Mali, southern Algeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Togo, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa.
However, some species are found in Arabian Peninsula where the puff adders inhabit southwestern Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
The habitat of puff adder includes all regions except true deserts, rainforests, and tropical habitats. They are mostly found in rocky grasslands.
Let’s have a look at the subspecies of puff adders and know about their range and habitat.
African puff adder (Bitis arietans arietans)
African puff adders live throughout Africa. The range of their habitat includes southern Morocco to Cape Province in South Africa and the south-west Arabian Peninsula.
German naturalist Blasius Merrem first described the African puff adder in 1820. He did the binomial nomenclature of this species. In its Latin name, “arietans” means “striking violently.
Somali puff adder (Bitis arietans somalica)
Somali puff adders are mostly found in Somalia, Somaliland, eastern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya.
English zoologist Hampton Wildman Parker discovered the species in 1949.
Puff adders are nocturnal snakes and they ambush their prey. Puff adders mostly feed on small to medium-sized mammals, different species of birds that forage on the ground, amphibians, and lizards. That’s why they are carnivores.
Behavior & lifestyle
Puff adders are habitually idle and lazy. They remain inactive most of the day. They camouflage themselves for protection. When they are threatened by an intruder, they become violent and can chase the offender with a surprising speed. They are also good swimmers and can also climb trees easily. Puff adders generally bask in low bushes.
The puff adder’s hissing is loud and continuous if disturbed. Then it tightly coils its body in a taut “S” shape. The puff adders attack suddenly and fast. It can quickly return to its position and then attack again. Their agile body helps them while attacking.
The female puff adders produce a pheromone to attract males. They engage in neck-wrestling combat dances. The females give birth to large numbers of offspring. The offspring are 12.5-17.5 cm in length.
Fun puff adder facts
Here is a list of “Top 5 Fun Puff Adder Facts“. You can read the list below.
- A female puff adder’s pheromone is very attractive. Once in Malindi, a female was found to be followed by 7 males for mating!
- A Kenyan female puff adder in a Czech zoo gave birth to 156 offspring, the largest ever litter of snake species.
- Puff adders are agile climbers. One puff adder was found 4.6 m above the ground in a tree.
- Puff adders can attack to a distance of about one-third of the body length. Whereas, juvenile puff adders can launch their full body.
- About 100 mg of a puff adder’s venom can kill a man within 25 hours.
Meet the puff adder
You can read about Most Venomous Snakes In The World here.
You can also read about Fastest Snakes In The World here.
Did you enjoy learning more about the puff adder? Have you ever met this unique creature face-to-face? Tell us about your puff adder experience in the comment section below. Because those who care share!
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