The puff adder is an interesting and highly venomous heavy bodied African viper. It gets its name from its ability to ‘puff’ itself out when startled, so it actually looks bigger than normal. It has many interesting adaptations that help it survive in the African grasslands.
While one of its techniques is to puff out when startled, it can also play dead. It strikes when it is usually touched when in such a position and this is how more often than not, this particular viper causes human deaths.
Puff adders are found in a variety of habitats but they especially prefer grasslands and savannahs in the African regions.
Overall, the puff adder is quite lazy and slow moving. If he is disturbed, he has short bursts of speedy jumps. He is however, the fastest striking snake in the world, so one needs to watch out for these creatures!
They ensure the survival of their species by having large number of offspring, usually about 30 to 80. Many predators feed on the puff adder’s young, and the reptile compensates for this by having many offspring. They can also breed easily, and mating is not a struggle as in the case of other snakes.
The young puff adders are capable of killing as soon as they are born. This is another adaptation against their predators, as the babies can most often protect themselves.
Their color and patterns vary with the habitat. Generally, however, the puff adder is browny with V shaped distinct markings. They rely on this camouflage for protection, often playing dead if they feel threatened.
The puff adder has extremely large hollow fangs (solenglyohous venom delivery system), with very powerful venom, capable of killing a large man in a single bite, if the bite is not treated properly.