For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Horned Adder (Bitis caudalis)

Family Viperidae
Caution: Under NO circumstances ever try to catch or handle snakes unless you are an expert on them and know what species they are and how to handle them!! BABIES CAN BE AS DANGEROUS AS ADULTS, SO BE CAREFUL.

I caught this one and it is still a baby, about 20-25cm (10”) in length. They can grow up to 60cm (2’).
 They have a distinctive horn above each eye from which they get their name and the head is triangular in shape.

Although they are mainly found in the drier, arid areas of SA, they also inhibit mountain and rocky habitats.
 Their coloration changes according to where they live and inareas where there is desert sand, are much lighter.
 They bury themselves in loose sand leaving only the eyes and top of the head exposed. They also lay in the shade of bushes to ambush prey as this camouflages them well.
 If molested they will coil and inflate their bodies and hiss loudly. This one was very placid and made no attempt to strike at me as they usually do.

They feed at dusk mainly on lizards but will eat frogs, small rodents and birds.
 Usually the female will have 3-8 young which are born in the summer at the same time as many lizard eggs hatch.
 Their bite hurts more than it is life threatening and the mildly cytotoxic poison will cause swelling and maybe some necrosis (affecting the nerves).

 This one first covered itself lightly with sand then wiggled into it with only its head and the tip of its tail showing.
Information from: A Guide to the Reptiles of Southern Africa by Johan Marais