At Kruger this past weekend, we came across the deadliest snake in Africa: the puff adder. Most people think of the black mamba first when they think of deadly snakes, and with good reason, but the puff adder causes the most deaths.
“Puff Adder” is a name given to several snake species in the world, some harmless, others lethal. The puff adder in Africa (species bitis arietans) is a venomous viper snake, and ranks number one for snakebite fatalities in Africa because it has a vast distribution throughout Africa, it’s commonly found in highly populated areas, and, well, it just doesn’t move.
So while mambas and cobras are also deadly, you’re less likely to be bitten by one. They slither away whereas the puff adder relies on his camouflage to hide. He doesn’t flee from footsteps, and he is so well hidden that people step on him and FANG! you’re dead. They are strong and forceful and have very long fangs that even penetrate leather. Uh…yeah. Geez Louise!
Snake Catcher is a decent occupation here in South Africa, and there are up to 30 people who have snake catching certification on my husband’s worksite. And with good reason. Here is one of the many puff adders found on his site. This one was hiding under some construction beams:
Despite their deadly potential, the site deals with the snakes humanely, issuing a catch-and-release policy that removes the reptiles to environments where they can continue contributing to the natural order of South African wildlife (yes, I’m humming Circle of Life right now.)
Just thought you would enjoy this glimpse into the finding, catching and releasing of Africa’s deadliest snake.