Bitis atropos (Berg adder, Cape mountain adder)
Bergadder [Afrikaans]; iRamba lamatye [Xhosa]; Qwaane [South
(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: Viperidae > Genus:
(Berg adder, Cape mountain adder), Western Cape [K.Hopkins, G.J. Measey
and K.A. Tolley © from
(Berg adder, Cape mountain adder), Mpumalanga [C. Cleminson
It can be identified by having a triangular head that is distinct
from the body, a lack of Puff-adder-like chevron markings and its practice
striking even when a threat is out of range. This adder species has an average
length of 30 cm but may reach 60 cm in length. This adder species is only active
during the day.
Distribution and habitat
The Berg adder is found in the Western Cape (were it is
found at sea level), Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Drakensburg and the eastern
border of Zimbabwe. Its preferred habitat is mountain fynbos, montane grassland
Primarily feeds on lizards but also known to eat
rain frogs. Juveniles, however only eat
Predators, parasites and disease
Fed on by
of prey and other snakes.
Viviparous (gives birth to live young) and
produces between 8 and 15 young in March or April
Can live for up to 15 years.
Unlike other adders, the Berg adder has neurotoxic
venom which although non-lethal is still serious. Although Berg adder bites are
common, an antivenom is not required or even manufactured.
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.