Bitis schneideri

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Bitis schneideri
Namaqua dwarf adder, Namaqualand, Northern Cape, South Africa.JPG
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Viperinae
Genus: Bitis
Species: B. schneideri
Binomial name
Bitis schneideri
(Boettger, 1886)
  • Vipera Schneideri Boettger, 1886
  • Bitis caudalis paucisquamatis Mertens, 1954
  • Bitis paucisquamata
    FitzSimons, 1962
  • Bitis caudalis paucisquamata
    Klemmer, 1963
  • Bitis paucisquamatis
    — FitzSimons, 1966
  • Bitis schneideri Haacke, 1975[1]
Common names: Namaqua dwarf adder,[2][3] spotted dwarf adder,[2] Schneider's adder.[3]

Bitis schneideri is a venomous viper species found in a small coastal region that straddles the border between Namibia and South Africa.[3] This is the smallest species in the genus Bitis and possibly the world's smallest viperid.[2] No subspecies are currently recognized.[4]


The specific name, schneideri, is in honor of "Dr. Oskar Schneider in Dresden", a friend of Boettger.[5]


With an average total length (body + tail) of 18–25 cm (7-10 in) and a maximum reported total length of 28 cm (11 in), this is the smallest species of the genus Bitis and possibly the world's smallest viperid.[2]

Geographic range[edit]

This snake ranges from the white coastal sand dunes of Namibia, near Lüderitz, south to Hondeklip Bay, Little Namaqualand, South Africa. Mallow et al. (2003) describe the range as the transitional regions of the Namib Desert.[2] The range may extend up to 60 km (37 mi) inland in the Sperrgebeit of southern Namibia.[3]

The type locality given is "Angra Pequenia" [=Lüderitz Bay, Namibia].[1]

Conservation status[edit]

This species is classified as vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List for the following criteria: A2cd (v2.3, 1994).[6] This means a population reduction of at least 20% is projected or suspected to be met within the next ten years or three generations, whichever is the longer, due to a decline in area of occupancy, extent of occurrence and/or quality of habitat, or due to actual or potential levels of exploitation (year assessed: 1996).[7]


An account is provided by Hurrell (1981) of a bite he sustained on his left index finger. The symptoms included intense pain, pronounced swelling, discoloration and oozing of serum from the punctures. After 24 hours, a 5 mm hematoma developed at the bite site. His condition stabilized after three to four days, with the swelling and pain gradually subsiding. Healing was complete after two weeks, with no loss of function or sensation of the afflicted digit. Minimal local tissue damage and no systemic effects were reported. No antivenom is available for this species.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, Volume 1. Washington, District of Columbia: Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. ^ a b c d e f Mallow D, Ludwig D, Nilson G. 2003. True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Company. 359 pp. ISBN 0-89464-877-2.
  3. ^ a b c d Spawls S, Branch B. 1995. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Dubai: Ralph Curtis Books. Oriental Press. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.
  4. ^ "Bitis schneideri". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 26 July 2006. 
  5. ^ Boettger, p. 10.
  6. ^ Bitis schneideri at the IUCN Red List. Accessed 27 August 2007.
  7. ^ 1994 Categories & Criteria (version 2.3) at the IUCN Red List. Accessed 27 August 2007.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boettger O. 1886. Beiträge zur Herpetologie und Malakozoologie Südwest-Afrikas. I. Zur Kenntnis der Fauna von Angra Pequenia. Bericht über die Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft in Frankfurt am Main 1886: 3-29. ("Vipera Schneideri n. sp.", pp. 8-10 + Plate I., Figures 1a.-1e).
  • Branch, Bill. 2004. Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Third Revised edition, Second impression. Sanibel Island, Florida: Ralph Curtis Books. 399. pp. ISBN 0-88359-042-5. (Bitis schneideri, pp. 118-119 + Plate 14).
  • Hurrell DP. 1981. Namaqua dwarf adder bite. South African Medical Journal 45: 969-971.

External links[edit]