Bitis armata (Southern adder)

Suidelike adder [Afrikaans]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Lepidosauromorpha > Lepidosauria > Squamata > Serpentes (snakes) > Family: Viperidae > Genus: Bitis

Bitis armata (Southern adder), Western Cape [T. Phelps from SARCA Virtual Museum]

 

Bitis armata (Southern adder), Western Cape [T. Phelps from SARCA Virtual Museum]

 

Identification

Can be identified by its grey colouration, 20 or more pairs of brown and white blotches, an arrow head pattern on its head and dark markings from the eye to the mouth. It is an average length of 28 cm but may reach 41.5 cm in length. 

Distribution and habitat

The Southern adder has a very small distribution and is only found in two small populations in the Western Cape. Its favoured habitat is low-lying coastal fynbos below 200 meters above sea level.

Food

Feeds on lizards and small rodents (e.g. rats and mice).

Predators, parasites and disease

Unknown

Reproduction

Viviparous (gives birth to live young), with up to seven offspring born in late summer.

Longevity

Has an average lifespan of 20 years.

Medical importance

No human has been bitten by a Southern adder but the venom is likely to be cytotoxic and only cause painful swelling and necrosis. Antivenom is not required.

Links

References

  • Marais, J. 2004. A Complete Guide to Snakes of Southern Africa. Struik Publishing, Cape Town.

  • Alexander, G. & Marais, J. 2007. A Guide to the Reptiles of Southern Africa. Struik Publishing, Cape Town.

 


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