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Puff Adder

It's not the longest snake, or the heaviest, but the Puff Adder is one of the most feared. Why? Because they kill more people on their home continent of Africa than any other species of snake. Though numbers are hard to track down, something around 60% of all bites come from Bitis arietans.

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Puff Adders only measure about three feet in length, and have very wide, sluggish bodies that rely on camouflage for hunting. However, don't let their girth fool you, they can strike extremely fast, and their venom can cause shock, unconsciousness, skin necrosis, and hemorrhages. They have long fangs and can inject the venom deep into their target, easily causing death if not treated. Though the threat to humans is there, Puff Adders normally go after and feed upon small rodents, reptiles, and birds. Human attacks typically occur when the snake is startled and confronted.

Puff Adders are (my favorite word!) ovoviviparous, and can give birth to several dozen live young at once. These young are independent from birth. They are a common species, and have not been evaluated by the IUCN. In the wild, Puff Adders actually have several enemies, including badgers, raptors, warthogs, and other snakes.


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