Bitis peringueyi

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Bitis peringueyi
Namibian Sidewinder Bitis peringueyi.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Genus: Bitis
Species: B. peringueyi
Binomial name
Bitis peringueyi
(Boulenger, 1888)
Bitis peringueyi distribution.png
  • Vipera Peringueyi Boulenger, 1888
  • Bitis peringueyi — Boulenger, 1896
  • Bitis peringueyi — Golay et al., 1993[2]
Common names: Peringuey's adder,[3][4] Peringuey's desert adder, sidewinding adder,[5] more.

Bitis peringueyi is a venomous viper species found in Namibia and southern Angola. No subspecies are currently recognized.[6]


B. peringueyi is a small snake with an average total length (body + tail) of 20–25 cm (8–10 in), its maximum recorded total length is 32 cm (13 in).[5]

The head is short and flat with eyes located on top of the head. The head is covered with strongly keeled scales, the smallest of which are located anteriorly. The eyes are separated by six to 9 scales, while each eye is surrounded by 10-13 scales. Two to four scales separate the suborbitals from the supralabials. The latter number 10-14, the sublabials 10-13. The one pair of chin shields contact the first two to four sublabials.[5]

The dorsal scales number 23-31 at midbody and 21-27 anteriorly. All are strongly keeled, except those bordering the ventral scales are large and smooth. The ventrals number 117-144. The 15-30 subcaudals are usually keeled, particularly towards the tip. The anal plate is single.[5]

The color pattern consists of a pale buff, chestnut brown to orange-brown, or sandy-grayish ground color, overlaid with three longitudinal series of faint, elongate, gray to dark spots. The body is also stippled with an irregular pattern of pale and dark spots. The belly is usually whitish or dirty yellow. The tail is generally tan, but in 25% of specimens, it is black.[5]

Common names[edit]

Common names of this snake include Peringuey's adder,[3][4] Peringuey's desert adder, sidewinding adder, Namib dwarf sand adder,[5] dwarf puff adder,[7] Namib desert sidewinding adder,[8] dwarf sand adder, Namib dwarf adder,[9] and Namib desert viper.[10]


This adder was named after Louis Péringuey, the South African entomologist and museum director.[11]

Geographic range[edit]

It is found in the Namib from southern Angola to Lüderitz, Namibia. Also seen in the Fish River Canyon.

The type locality is given as "Damaraland, 10 miles east of Walfisch Bay" [Namibia].[2]


An ambush hunter, it buries itself just beneath the surface of the sand with only its eyes and the tip of its tail exposed[12] (individuals with black tail-tips employ caudal luring).[5] When prey happens by, it is seized and envenomated.[12]


Its diet includes the lizards Meroles, and the barking gecko Ptenopus. Aporosaura lizards have high water contents and are important sources of water for these snakes.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Joger, U. & Turner, A.A. (2010). "Bitis peringueyi". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2010: e.T178627A7583993. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T178627A7583993.en. Retrieved 9 January 2018. 
  2. ^ 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).
  3. ^ a b Spawls S, Branch B. 1995. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Dubai: Ralph Curtis Books. Oriental Press. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.
  4. ^ a b Bitis peringueyi at the Reptile Database. Accessed 2 August 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h 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.
  6. ^ "Bitis peringueyi". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 26 July 2006. 
  7. ^ Gotch AF. 1986. Reptiles -- Their Latin Names Explained. Poole, UK: Blandford Press. 176 pp. ISBN 0-7137-1704-1.
  8. ^ SNA 020STA026 01 Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. at Foto S.A.. Accessed 29 December 2006.
  9. ^ Mehrtens JM. 1987. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishers. 480 pp. ISBN 0-8069-6460-X.
  10. ^ Brown JH. 1973. Toxicology and Pharmacology of Venoms from Poisonous Snakes. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas. 184 pp. LCCCN 73-229. ISBN 0-398-02808-7.
  11. ^ Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins; Michael Grayson. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 312 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Bitis peringueyi, p. 203).
  12. ^ a b Peringuey's Desert Adder (Bitis peringueyi) at The Colorado Herpetological Society. Accessed 18 March 2007.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger, G.A. 1888. On new or little-known South-African Reptiles. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., Sixth Series 2: 136-141. ("Vipera Peringueyi, sp. n.", p. 141).
  • Boulenger, G.A. 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. (Bitis peringueyi, p. 495).
  • 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 peringueyi, p. 119 + Plate 14).
  • Golay P, Smith HM, Broadley DG, Dixon JR, McCarthy C, Rage J-C, Schätti B, Toriba M. 1993. Endoglyphs and Other Major Venomous Snakes of the World. A Checklist. Geneva: Azemiops. xv + 478 pp.
  • Reiserer RS, DeNardo DF. 2000. Natural history observations on Bitis peringueyi (Boulenger) (Reptilia: Viperidae). Cimbebasia 16: 195-198. PDF at Vanderbilt University. Accessed 18 March 2007.

External links[edit]