I know some of us have the urge for an urgent bond with wild animals which is to some extent understandable but rather odd. And yes, this quote: “snakes are just very instinctive to me. I’ve been playing with snakes since before I could walk. It doesn’t matter where or what it is, from the biggest to the most venomous” is very misleading.

You’re not Steve Irwin (the late Australian wildlife expert) and remember, irrespective of his confession about snake being instinctive to him, and him playing with them, he warned that “you can touch a stick of dynamite, but if you touch a venomous snake it’ll turn around and bite you and kill you so fast…” So trust me, you don’t want to encounter these snakes in South Africa, they are lethal and wouldn’t give a second thought to taking a piece of you.

Check Out: 10 Most Dangerous Animals You Should Avoid In South Africa

1. Mozambique Spitting Cobra

Mozambique Spitting Cobra

The Mozambique Spitting Cobra is a huge threat to your visual sense if you come across the deceitful creature. Mozambique Spitting Cobra will pretend to be dead just to shy away from confrontations, but will stealthily spit its venom with an accurate exactitude into it’s victims eyes which can cause impaired vision or blindness. The snake is proportionally small in size, and thin with an average length (adults) between 90 cm – 105 cm. But can lift up to as much as two-thirds of its length when confronted. Mozambique Spitting Cobra feeds on other snakes, amphibians, birds, eggs, little mammals and insects.

2. The Cape Cobra

Cape Cobra

Also known as the yellow cobra, yellow snake, brown or copper cobra, the snake is a quick-moving and alert species known to be more aggressive during its mating period. It strikes readily if it perceives an imminent danger. While the cape cobra strikes unhesitatingly when it intends to deter an attack, it sometimes when threatened or disturbed, rears its fore-body, opens out its broad hood and occasionally hisses loudly. The snake will quickly try to escape if the threat remains motionless but will assume its defensive posture if it notices any sign of movement. The cape is one of the most dangerous snakes around with a thick, syrupy potent venom that can cause death between an hour to ten hours after bite.

3. Gaboon Viper


The Gaboon Viper is known with other common names like “Butterfly Adder”, “Forest Puff Adder”, “Swampjack” and “Whisper”. The snake is not only crowned the largest member of its genus, but also the heaviest viperid of the world, with the highest venom yield of any venomous snake, and the longest of all long pointed fangs in snakes for injecting venom.

You’ll find horn-like features in a Gaboon Viper’s raised nostrils with heads that are triangular and rather large for the very tiny necks. Gaboon Vipers are slow-moving, docile, excessively sluggish and very tolerant snakes. They rarely bite or hiss even when handled. That in anyway shouldn’t make you go about picking them up as they do bite at times, and are one of the fastest striking snakes in the world with bites that are potentially fatal as each bite produces the largest quantities of venom of any venomous snake.

See Also: Lesser Known But Fun Facts About Zonkeys

4. The Puff Adder

Puff Adder

Bitis arietans otherwise called “Puff Adder”, “African Puff Adder” of “Common Puff Adder” got the “arietans” from the Latin word “arieto” referring to “striking violently”. The snakes are said to be responsible for most of the snakebite fatalities in Africa as they are widely distributed, aggressive, produces large amount of potent venom, have long fangs and are fond of staying quietly on footpaths, and wouldn’t  move out even when approached.

They usually, adopt a tightly coiled defensive posture and hiss continuously loud when disturbed. Also, they may choose to back away from the threat toward a cover, and may decide to strike suddenly at a high unexpected speed even to the side, and again take on the defensive posture to strike again.

5. Boomslang


These snakes are reported as native snakes restricted to sub-Saharan Africa. Generally regarded as a shy and a timid sort, Boomslangs are said to bite when people attempt to handle, catch or kill them. The venom of the snake is slow acting as the symptoms are oftentimes not recognized until many hours after bite. Consequently, victims find no reason to take the bite serious, believing the injury is not life-threatening which usually deters immediate treatment. Boomslang means “tree snake”.

6. The Black Mamba

Black Mamba

When you hear South Africans talk about the “kiss of death” they’re definitely referring to the black mamba’s bite. The snakes have a reputation as the most dangerous and feared snake in Africa at large. Black mamba is the fastest running snake in Africa, and perhaps in the world. There are even stories albeit unconfirmed about the snake outrunning a galloping horse and a running human.

As the longest species of venomous snakes on the African continent, black mambas usually avoid humans but are capable of striking at considerable range and can even deal out a series of bites in rapid succession when confronted. The venom of the snakes are highly toxic and potent to such extent that it can cause humans to collapse within 45 or less minutes whereas death occurs in 7 to 15 hours after bite if useful anti-venom therapy isn’t administered.

That said, you might like to know that the snake didn’t get its name from the color of its scales but from the inner part of its mouth which is black

See Also: What Happen When You Interrupt A Mating Tortoises