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: “deadly 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 deadly snakes of South Africa, they are lethal and wouldn’t give a second thought to taking a piece of you.
Deadly Snakes of South Africa
1. 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 its victim’s 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
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 within an hour to ten hours after a 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 any way, 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.
4. The 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 a large amount of potent venom, have long fangs and are fond of staying quietly on footpaths, and wouldn’t move out even when approached.
These deadly snakes 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.
These deadly 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 a 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
One of the most deadly snakes in this part of the world is the 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. The 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 is highly toxic and potent to such extent that it can cause humans to collapse within 45 or fewer 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 colour of its scales but from the inner part of its mouth which is black