Atractaspis bibronii

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Atractaspis bibronii
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Atractaspididae
Genus: Atractaspis
Species: A. bibronii
Binomial name
Atractaspis bibronii
A. Smith, 1849
  • Atractaspis bibronii
    A. Smith, 1849
  • Atractaspis inornatus
    A. Smith, 1849
  • Atractaspis Bibronii
    A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron, 1854
  • Atractaspis rostrata
    Günther, 1868
  • Atractaspis irregularis var. Bibronii Boettger, 1887
  • Atractaspis Coarti
    Boulenger, 1901
  • Atractaspis Katangae Boulenger, 1910
  • Atractaspis bibronii katangae
    Laurent, 1945
  • Atractaspis bibronii rostrata
    Laurent, 1950
  • Atractaspis bibronii
    Fitzsimons & Brain 1958
  • Atractaspis bibronii
    – Auerbach, 1987
  • Atractaspis bibroni
    – Welch, 1994[1]
Common names: Bibron's burrowing asp.[2]

Atractaspis bibronii is a venomous snake species found in Africa. No subspecies are currently recognized.[3]


The specific epithet, bibronii, is in honor of French herpetologist Gabriel Bibron.[4]


Adults average 30–50 cm (12–20 in) in total length with a maximum of 70 cm (27 12 in). The color pattern consists of a purplish-brown, gray or black ground color, often with a purplish sheen. The belly can be brownish, white or pale yellow in color, with a series of dark blotches. In specimens with a lighter belly coloration, this may also include two or three scale rows on the flanks.[2]

Snout prominent, subcuneiform. Portion of rostral visible from above as long as or a little shorter than its distance from the frontal. Dorsal scales in 21 or 23 rows. Ventrals 221-260; anal entire; subcaudals 20-23, all or greater part single (not divided).[5]

Geographic range[edit]

Found in southern Africa, from central Namibia, east to northern South Africa, north to southeastern DR Congo and Uganda, eastern Tanzania, coastal Kenya, and extreme southern coastal Somalia.[2]


Semi-desert, savannah and woodland.[2]


Atracraspis bibronii will eat frogs and small mammals, but its main diet is burrowing reptiles encountered in old termite mounds.[6]


The venom is highly toxic, although it is produced in very small amounts. Bites are common in some areas. Often, snake handlers are bitten who are unaware that this species is able to bite while being held by the neck. Bite symptoms usually include mild to intense pain, local swelling with occasional blistering and necrosis and regional lymphadenopathy. No fatalities have been recorded.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Atractaspis bibronii at the Reptile Database. Accessed 2 July 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e Spawls S, Branch B. 1995. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Ralph Curtis Books. Dubai: Oriental Press. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.
  3. ^ "Atractaspis bibronii". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 5 September 2007. 
  4. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Atractaspis bibroni [sic], p. 25).
  5. ^ Boulenger GA. 1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History), Volume III., Containing the ... Viperidæ. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I-XXV. (Atractaspis bibronii, p. 515).
  6. ^ 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 (Atractaspis bibronii, p. 62 & Plate 38).