Bitis inornata (Plain mountain adder, Hornless adder)

Ongemerkte bergadder [Afrikaans]; uNomondwana [Xhosa]

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 inornata (Plain Mountain adder, Hornless adder), Eastern Cape [I. Scammel from SARCA Virtual Museum]



The Plain mountain adder can be identified by its reddish brown colouration, between 19 and 24 dark blotches down the length of the body, its keeled scales, its flat snout and a triangular head which is distinct from the rest of the body. This snake reaches an average length of 30 cm but can reach 35 cm in length.

Distribution and habitat

Distribution is confined to the Sneeuberg mountains of the Eastern Cape (between Graaff-Reinet and Cradock). Its favoured habitat is high mountain slopes (above the snow line) where it is often found under rock slabs or in grass  tussocks.


Feeds mainly on lizards (particularly skinks and lacertids) and occasionally small mammals (e.g. rats and mice).

Predators, parasites and disease



Viviparous (give birth to live young); five to eight offspring are born in late summer.


Average lifespan is between 5 and 10 years.

Medical importance

This snake's venom has not been studied but is likely to be a weak cytotoxic venom causing pain, swelling and possibly necrosis. Antivenom is not required.



  • 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.


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