Peringuey's Adder

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Is the Peringuey's Adder right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Peringuey's Desert Adder; Namib Dwarf Sand Adder; Dwarf Puff Adder

Scientific name: Bitis peringueyi

The basics:
The Peringuey’s Adder is one of the world’s smallest venomous snakes – but this does not mean it should be considered as a pet by snake fans! Its venom has been little studied, and size has rarely proven to have a connection to toxicity in other species.

The Peringuey’s Adder is limited to the Namib Desert of southern Angola and Namibia in southwestern Africa, where it dwells in poorly-vegetated, shifting sand dunes and related habitats.

Appearance / health:
The body may be colored tan, light brown, chestnut brown, or sandy gray. Three longitudinal dark gray stripes mark the back, which is also stippled with gray and black spots. The eyes are set high up on the head, to assist in hunting when the snake is partially buried in sand. Mature Peringuey’s Adders measure 20-32 cm (8-13 in) in length.

This species is not common in zoos, and is considered prone to stress-related disorders and difficult to maintain.

Behavior / temperament:
Peringuey’s Adders are shy and retiring, but strike with amazing speed when disturbed.

It is impossible for a private snake owner to adequately prepare for or treat a venomous snakebite, or, prior to a bite, to arrange for treatment in a hospital.

Peringuey’s Adders are not well-studied, but appear to prey primarily upon Barking Geckos and other small lizards. Zoo animals are fed house geckos and pink mice.

The few available field studies indicate that females bear 2-7 10 cm (4 in) long youngsters annually.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


neurotoxic components, highly venomous species, deaths, high mortality rates, private snake owner


old world vipers, daily acute misting

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