The puff adder is an ambush hunter that relies on its camouflage to sit and wait for prey to walk by. It is the fastest striking snake in the world at 5m per second strike speed. Unfortunately this is also why the most amount of medically significant bites come from the species.
They are wide spread throughout southern Africa and into other parts as far as Sudan and often human encroachment brings them into villages and surrounding bush where conflict occurs.
Adult puff adders are normally from 900 mm up to 1.5 m in some parts of their range. The head is large and distinct from the body with lots of small scales. The eyes are small with vertical pupils. The nostrils are large and face up. The fangs are large hinged fangs. The dorsal scales of the body are heavily keeled and in 29-41 rows mid-body. The anal shield is entire and the sub-caudals are 14-38 and are paired. Ventral scales are 123-147. Coloration varies throughout their range.
They lock in our autumn, winter and spring. Males actively look for females, this is when you may see 2 males duelling. They raise up and twist and push each other in a bid for the strongest male to put his head on the rivals and force it to the ground. This establishes a winner who then has breeding rights with the female. In summer the babies are born. Puff adders have between 20-40 young. Exceptionally rare cases of 80 have been recorded. The young are born live, not in eggs and are around 15-20 cm long.