Proatheris superciliaris (Floodplain viper, Lowland swamp viper, Eyebrow viper)

Moerasadder [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 > Squamata > Serpentes (snakes) > Family: Viperidae


Can be identified by its grey brown or reddish brown colouration, the 3 rows of brown spots that run the length of its body, the yellow lines between the rows of spots, a yellow or orange tipped tail, keeled (rough) scales and its habit of coiling into a C-shape when threatened. It has an average length of 45 cm but may reach up to 60 cm.

Distribution and habitat

This snake is only found in Central Mozambique and it favoured habitat includes the following; grasslands in close proximity to swamps and floodplains in lowland forest and moist savanna (in these in environments it is always found in close proximity to rodent burrows).


Feeds on frogs (particularly Reed frogs), toads and small rodents (e.g. rats and mice).

Predators, parasites and disease



Viviparous (has live young), gives birth to between 3 and 16 young in summer.


This viper species has an average lifespan of 10 years.

Medical importance

This snakes' venom has not been well studied but is possibly haemotoxic and could be potentially dangerous to humans. At present no antivenom is available.



  • 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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