Colours of Wildlife: Puff Adder, Part II

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Puff Adder

Willem is a wildlife artist based in South Africa. He says "My aim is simply to express the beauty and wonder that is in Nature, and to heighten people's appreciation of plants, animals and the wilderness. Not everything I paint is African! Though I've never been there, I'm also fascinated by Asia and I've done paintings of Asian rhinos and birds as well. I may in future do some of European, Australian and American species too. I'm fascinated by wild things from all over the world! I mainly paint in watercolours. . . but actually many media including 'digital' paintings with the computer!"

Puff Adder Encounters

Puff adder camouflaged.

I have had a few encounters with this snake, and no trouble so far. My first photo shows one I found on a farm of a friend, just lying beneath a bush. Here you can see how well-camouflaged it is. I got close to it to get a good photo. It saw me, but didn't feel threatened. If it did, it would have drawn its body back and hissed, but it just lay there.

The next series of photos shows an encounter my father had at the school where he taught in his last years. There was a commotion among the children, and going to investigate, he heard that there was a huge snake. Many of them said it was a python. Since pythons are non-venomous, my father didn't worry much. The children had chased the snake into a storm drain. My father tried to get the snake out; the children had already made a fire and were trying to get the smoke to go into the drain. My father instead used a long rubber hose to try to prod the snake out. When it emerged at the other side it proved to be a puff adder! Now it was trouble since my father knows how venomous these are. But he managed to get the snake into a bucket; here you see the photo of it.

Puff adder in a bucket.

My father came home to pick me up and we went to take the snake to a local snake park, actually part of a casino complex, Meropa. The snakes are kept with other reptiles in a section called Wild World. The employees were very frightened when we showed them the snake, but we got an experienced snake handler who took it from the bucket and then manoeuvred it into one of the empty glass display cases. In all of this ordeal the snake never struck at anybody! I hope it was all right; we only returned to the place some years later and didn't see it again. I actually hope they released it soon into some suitable wild place; I don't even like the idea of snakes kept in such confined quarters.

Puff in display case.

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