Puff adder

Scientific name 
Bitis arietans
Puff Adder square image

What they look like

These large and heavy-bodied snakes are exceptionally well camouflaged in their surroundings. Typically, they have chevron-like patterns running from their large triangle-shaped heads down the length of their muscular bodies.

Animal facts

One of the most widespread snakes in Africa, it is also the deadliest, causing more reported fatalities than any other snake in Africa. These masters of camouflage grow to about a metre in length and have long fangs capable of injecting large amounts of potent venom into their victims. Unlike most snakes that disappear unseen when they sense a potential threat, puff adders will stand their ground, inflate their bodies and hiss loudly. They are not afraid to bite! They give birth to a large number of offspring, usually about 20 individuals but there have been reports of litter sizes exceeding 100 individuals all arriving at once!

What they eat

Small mammals (especially rodents), birds and reptiles.


Mainly found in savannas but anywhere, apart from extreme desert.

Where they live

Widespread across sub-Saharan Africa.


Habitat loss due to agricultural cultivating and traditional medicine.

Life span
13 years