Species group: Rattlesnakes and Other Vipers
Other common names: Peringuey's Desert Adder; Namib Dwarf Sand Adder; Dwarf Puff Adder
Scientific name: Bitis peringueyi
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
Dangerous - and Delicate Even in Zoos
I’ve had the good fortune to work with this and related vipers in zoos for decades but feel strongly that they should never be kept in private collections. Unfortunately, the Peringuey’s adder’s small size, “side-winding” locomotion, unique appearance and habits render it much in demand in certain sectors of our hobby. It is a desert specialist and, dangers aside, is a delicate captive even in well-run zoos.
It is impossible for a private snake owner to adequately prepare for or treat a venomous snakebite. Viper venom is far more complex than was once believed. Haemotoxins, which damage blood cells, blood vessels and body tissues, predominate in most that have been studied. However, all have neurotoxic components as well, along with the enzyme Hyaluronidase, which speeds venom diffusion. Surely, you can find a more suitable, and equally interesting, species to keep!.
From findiviglio Jan 14 2016 4:53PM
Peringuey's Adder - Bitis peringueyi
These little old world vipers from the genus Bitis are a fascinating species and are very rare in the pet trade. They are small measuring only 25cm when fully grown. I didn't find these easy to keep but I did have success in breeding them. They require a dry cage setup with daily acute misting as in the wild this snake recieves hydration in the form the sea breeze on the Sand dunes and by absorbing the high water content of its prey which are desert lizards and Barking Geckos. They don't do well on Pinky Mice and as far as I have come to understand the only live long if they are fed on Geckos or Lizards. Here in SA I use Tropical House Geckos as a food source. In some countries Anoles and other soft skinned geckos might be another stable food source for this species. With very little information on the web about how to keep them makes this an advanced species to keep with high mortality rates in captivity..
From RobWedderburn Oct 29 2015 6:52AM