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Mole viper or burrowing viper – how to identify, avoid their habitat, and treatment for their bite.

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Mole viper or burrowing viper
Atracaspis microlepidota

Description: Uniformly black or dark brown with a small, narrow head.

Characteristics: A viper that does not look like one. It is small in size, and its small head does not indicate the presence of venom glands. It has a rather inoffensive disposition; however, it will quickly turn and bite if restrained or touched. Its hemotoxic venom is potent for such a small snake. Its fangs are exceptionally long. A bite can result even when picking it up behind the head. It is best to leave this snake alone.

Habitat: Agricultural areas and arid localities.

Length: Average 55 centimeters (22 inches), maximum 75 centimeters (38 inches).

Distribution: Most of sub-Saharan Africa.

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