Puff Adder

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Is the Puff Adder right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: African Puff Adder

Scientific name: Bitis arietans

The basics:
Along with the Saw-scaled Viper, (Echis carinatus) the Puff Adder is responsible for more snakebite deaths in Africa than any other snake. Common and tolerant of human habitation, it often chooses paths heavily traversed by people as a hunting site, and rarely moves until stepped upon. Puff Adders inject large doses of highly toxic venom deeply into their victim – obviously not a species one should consider keeping!

The Puff Adder’s huge range covers Morocco, Algeria and nearly all of Africa south of the Sahara, as well as Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen.

Highly adaptable, it is found in nearly all habitats other than true desert and rainforest, including savannahs, overgrown fields, rocky grasslands, open forests, farms and the outskirts of villages and cities.

Appearance / health:
This heavy bodied snake may be colored yellow, yellow-brown, reddish-brown, or gray, and sports large black or brown “V-shaped” markings and spots. Mature Puff Adders reach 1-1.8 meters (3-6 ft) in length.

Zoo specimens have reached age 20+, but are considered prone to stress-related disorders and damp conditions.

Behavior / temperament:
Puff Adders are inactive and appear “sluggish”, yet strike with amazing speed. Their bulk renders handling with snake hooks especially difficult and dangerous.

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.

Puff Adders are ambush predators, taking meerkats, cane rats, and other mammals, frogs, lizards, snakes, and birds and their eggs. Zoo animals are fed rats and mice.

Puff adders have unusually large litters of live young, with an average litter size of 25 and a maximum of 80+. The young are 12-17 cm (5-7 in) long at birth, and are capable of causing human fatalities.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


experienced venomous keepers, impressive oldworld viper


venomous snake, extremely dangerous snake, potent venom, unpredictable behavior


strong hook sticks

Puff Adder Behavior Tip

Puff Adder

From reinier1 Apr 22 2015 10:01AM


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