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Snakes at Lapalala

15 May 2010

The pristine environment of Lapalala Wilderness Reserve supports healthy populations of reptiles and this includes snakes.

Snakes are vital to a healthy environment and without them we would be overrun with pests.

Out of South Africa’s 170-odd snake species, less than 16 are known to be harmful to man. Occasionally snakes come into human settlements in search of prey like rats and mice. But for the most part, snakes tend to stay in their natural habitats.

One of the most common venomous snakes is the puff adder. Like many animals, puff adders are reliant on their amazing camouflage to stay hidden from danger. This combined with their tendency to stay immobile when a threat approaches, results in them being trodden on by unsuspecting hikers or walkers.

Like most snakes, however, this beautiful reptile prefers to stay well away from humans and finding one of these snakes in the bush is not a regular occurrence.

A rather thick and heavy set snake, puff adders do not appear to be able to move fast, mostly relying on their ventricle scales for movement.

However, they can move extremely swiftly when agitated and this combined with a lightning quick strike, make these snakes well deserving of respect.

Like most snakes however, biting is a last resort and puff adders would rather retreat into a hidden space, concealed well away from clumsy humans.

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