Atractaspis duerdeni (Beaked stiletto snake, Duerden's burrowing asp)
(animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia >
Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates) > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) >
Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class:
Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) >
(four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota >
Reptilia (reptiles) >
Romeriida > Diapsida > Lepidosauromorpha > Lepidosauria >
Squamata > Serpentes
(snakes) > Family: Atractaspididae > Genus:
The Beaked Stiletto snake can be identified by the
following features; a tail spine, small eyes, a uniform purple or black colour
(with a wide underside), a neck arch behind the head, the unique position of its
fangs (this makes it impossible to handle), a habit of coiling up with its head
under a coil when threatened and its predominately nocturnal lifestyle. It grows
to an average length of 40 cm and a maximum length of 55 cm.
Distribution and habitat
Found in central Namibia and part of Botswana
and the North West province. Its favoured habitats are arid savanna and karoo
Eats lizards (particularly lacertids) and other snakes.
Predators, parasites and disease
Eaten by other snakes.
The venom of this snake while not lethal is still dangerous
and causes intense pain and swelling and often the loss of fingers. Antivenom is
not effective and should not be used.
Broadley, D.G. 1983. FitzSimons' Snakes of Southern
Africa. Delta Books, Johannesburg.
Marais, J. 2004. A Complete Guide to Snakes of Southern Africa.
Struik Publishing, Cape Town.