slow-moving, bad-tempered and excitable snake that may hiss or puff when disturbed.
annoyed, it strikes
vigorously in all directions and has the capability of a lightning-fast sideways strike without withdrawing
the head. Fortunately it often gives warning of its
intentions by hissing noisily. It relies on its perfect camouflage to escape
detection and will rather freeze than move off. Moves in caterpillar fashion
leaving straight deep track in the sand.
Puff adders make splendid rat-traps.
A veld-rat was observed scurrying along a grass track; within seconds
there was a thud, followed by anguished squeaks which soon ended. On
investigation, it was noticed that the ratís tail was protruding from the
mouth of the puff adder, which had cunningly parked on the rodent track to snap
up the ones that never look where they are going. The snake deposited the rat
and inspected it, possibly wondering if the speedy catch was palatable. A second
puff-adder appeared on the path and seized the rear-end of the rat and started
swallowing, much to the chagrin of the first puff adder which quickly grabbed
the ratís head and commenced gulping towards its competitor. As internasal
distance narrowed and neither snake was prepared to yield, their respective
snouts soon met at mid-body. Number one gave an enormous gulp, encompassing most
of his opponentís head. An intense struggle followed but gradually the
challenger was painfully persuaded to follow the rat down a very different path.
mice, small mammals, ground birds.
young in summer, 150-20mm long.
honey badgers, warthogs, birds-of-prey and other snakes.
throughout most of southern Africa except for mountain tops, true desert and
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