Animal Planet or Nat Geo put together a documentary in which it was stated that juvenile snakes are more dangerous than adults because they are still dumb and do not know how to control their venom. What research this was based on (if any) is not known.
South Africa has a rich diversity of spider species, with more than 2000 species. This is directly related to our diverse habitats and landscape in southern Africa. Jumping Spiders are the most specious group followed by Ground Spiders and Crab Spiders. Identification of spiders is tricky, and many new species are described each year (Dippenaar-Schoeman, 2014).
The Stiletto Snake or Sypikslang (Atractaspis bibronii), is a small, highly venomous snake, that accounts for numerous snakebites during the summer months in Southern Africa. Previously known as a Mole Adder or Moladder, these dark snakes are often confused with harmless-looking snakes, and people tend to pick them up with their hands – the consequences of such a mistake can be very painful.
Identifying snakes can be rather difficult as they vary in colour. The Cape Cobra varies dramatically in colour, often from the same area. Juveniles are brownish yellow with a darker broad throat band but sometimes an orange brown colour while adults vary from near black to dark brown, medium brown, light brown, yellow or a golden orange colour and most of these variations may have darker or lighter speckles. Certain colours may be dominant in some areas (golden yellow individuals from the Kalahari) but that may also vary.
We have a large presence on social media with well over 500 000 followers over our various pages. Our Facebook group Snakes of Southern Africa is one of the largest and best run wildlife pages in Africa, and members submit dozens of snake pictures daily, asking for assistance with identification.
One of the biggest challenges we face in Africa is the availability of antivenom and snakebite deaths has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as a neglected tropical disease. Up to 20,000 fatalities are reported in Africa every year.
The genus Bitis comprises of 18 species restricted to Africa with the exception of the Puff Adder (Bitis arietans) which has a limited distribution on the Arabian Peninsula. Of these 18 species, 12 are considered Dwarf Adders. Southern Africa has 10 of the 12 Dwarf Adders.