Full Name: Desert Mountain Adder (Bitis xeropaga)
Other Names: Woestynbergadder
The Desert Mountain Adder averages 40 cm with a maximum length of just over 60 cm. It inhabits mountain slopes and sparsely-vegetated rocky hillsides along the Orange River valley from Augrabies to the Richtersveld.
It is quite similar to the Many-horned Adder in habits but favours drier habitats. Unlike some of the other small adders it does not side wind nor does it burrow into soft sand. If disturbed it will hiss loudly and strike quickly. Hikers are at risk, especially when placing hands onto rocks where one of these snakes may be sheltering.
The venom of this snake is both neurotoxic and cytotoxic and in addition to pain and swelling may also cause respiratory distress. Although not considered potentially lethal, small children are at risk and need to be hospitalised urgently. There is no antivenom for the venom of this snake and victims are treated symptomatically.