Causus rhombeatus (Rhombic Night adder or Common Night adder)

Nagadder [Afrikaans]; iNyoka yasebusuku [Zulu]; Unomofuthwana [Xhosa]; Changwa [Ndebele]; Chiva [Shona].

  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: Causes

Causus rhombeatus (Rhombic Night adder or Common Night adder), KwaZulu-Natal [C. Dorse & S. Van Rooyen from SARCA Virtual Museum]



Causus rhombeatus (Rhombic Night adder or Common Night adder), KwaZulu-Natal [P.Vos from SARCA Virtual Museum]



Can be identified by its grey, olive or brown colour, its rhombic (diamond shaped markings), its slightly keeled (rough) scales and the distinctive V-marking on its head. This snake has an average length of 60 cm but may reach up to 1 meter in length.

Distribution and habitat

The Rhombic Night adder is found all along South Africa's east coast (except for the Western cape). It is also present in Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Limpopo and the Free State (only a very small isolated population). This snake has also been found in Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and on the border of Botswana and Namibia (in the Caprivi strip). This snake is often found in moist savanna, lowland forest and fynbos; These areas are favoured because the are relatively damp and have high concentrations of the snakes prey.


Feeds on amphibians (particularly rain frogs), tadpoles and insects.

Predators, parasites and disease

This snake species is fed on by other snakes, monitor lizards and birds of prey (particularly secretary birds and snake eagles).


Oviparous (egg laying), lays between 7 and 26 eggs and often lays 2 or 3 batches per year.


This snake has an average lifespan of 10 years.

Medical importance

This adder species has a mild cytotoxic venom which although non lethal can cause tissue damage. There is an antivenom available but it is seldom required, in spite of this the venom is harmful and the situation should still be monitored.



  • 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.



Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Reptiles home   Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search