A picture of a long puff adder has been circulating on various South African snake Facebook groups with many people expressing amazement at how uncommonly long the snake in the picture is.
The snake was allegedly photographed in Karkloof, in KwaZulu-Natal. It is not clear who took the picture or when it was taken.Pietermaritzburg snake catcher, Pieter Potgieter, told The Witness that the snake was indeed a large snake, but not as big as the picture presents it to be.
“We call this false perspective, the angle where the picture was taken makes it look bigger or longer.“We hardly get puff adders in South Africa that exceed 1.3 metres, I think the longest puff adder ever caught in South Africa on record is 1.4 metres.
“It is a decent sized puff adder, but it is most definitely not a two or three metre animal. It’s probably in the region between 90 cm to 1 metre long. It’s just the way the photo is taken. It’s a very impressive photo and it looks very big,” he said.He said he was also quite positive that the snake was spotted in Karkloof.
Potgieter said the puff adder in the picture is male.“If you look at the tail, it’s long and pointy, whereas females have shorter and sturdier tails.”Potgieter said this particular picture of the snake has gone viral.
“It has been sent to me so many times and has made its to many Southern African reptile Facebook pages with people being amazed by the length of the snake,” said Potgieter.He said during this time of the year, it is not uncommon for so many puff adders to be spotted.
“In fact, snake activity as a whole has picked up big time because between now and winter, snakes are on a feeding frenzy. They’re out and about to try and eat as much as possible, trying to fatten up a little bit for winter.
“Snakes in South Africa don’t hibernate during winter, they brumate, which means that they are still active, but not as much.”Potgieter said it was also puff adder mating season at the moment and that’s why so many are being spotted.
“There have also been quite a few sightings of male puff adder combats at the moment because the males fight for dominance in order to mate with a female.”
He said the two males don’t bite or kill one another during these combat sessions.Potgieter said he has also removed quite a few puff adders from people’s homes around Pietermaritzburg in the past two weeks.He went on to warn people about puff adders as they are highly venomous.“They have a cell destroying venom and a very painful bite, but there is an anti-venom for it,” he said.