Bitis xeropaga (Desert mountain adder)

Woestynbergadder [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 xeropaga (Desert Mountain adder), Northern Cape [E.R Le Roux & B.A Le Roux from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Bitis xeropaga (Desert Mountain adder), Northern Cape [E.R Le Roux & B.A Le Roux from SARCA Virtual Museum]



The Desert Mountain adder can be identified by its usually ash or dark grey colouration, its unmarked head and between 16 and 34 white centered dark brown or black markings that extend down the length of its body. This snake grows to an average length of 40 cm but may reach a length of 61 cm.

Distribution and habitat

Has a restricted distribution in south-eastern Namibia and the extreme north-eastern part of the Northern Cape (although there is an isolated population in the Western region of the province). Its favoured habitat is on mountain slopes and rocky hillsides.


Unknown, however captive specimens have been known to eat lizards and mice.

Predators, parasites and disease

Unknown, however it is threatened by unsustainable collecting (it is quite popular amongst snake keepers).


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


Has an average lifespan of between five and 10 years.

Medical importance

No human bites have been recorded. It is thought that this snake has a weak cytotoxic venom (which would cause nothing more than pain and swelling). Antivenom is unnecessary.



  • 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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