Full Name: Bibron’s Stiletto Snake (Atractaspis bibronii)
Other Names: Mole Adder; Sypikslang; Moladder
After the Mozambique Spitting Cobra and Puff Adder, the Stiletto Snake accounts for the majority of serious snakebites in South Africa. It spends most of its life underground but often emerges on hot humid nights and may be stepped on. With large rotating fangs it cannot be handled safely and also cannot be held behind the head – it merely twists it head sideways and will get a fang to penetrate.
It is usually a blackish brown colour and is easily confused for a variety of harmless snakes. This snake averages 30 cm but can exceed 80 cm in length. Its venom is potently cytotoxic causing severe pain, swelling, blistering and necrosis. Blisters should not be cut for at least six days. Treatment is symptomatic as there is no antivenom available for the bite of this snake.