In most respects similar to Rhombic Night Adder. Differs by possessing an upturned snout and being much smaller, averaging 35 mm and attaining a maximum length of 430 mm. Soft, velvety, feebly-keeled dorsal scales in rows of 16 – 18 at mid-body.
Relatively short, crude fangs with no hinge action compared with adders in the genus Bitis, but maxillary rotation almost as great.
Similar to that of the Rhombic Night Adder – cytotoxic, causing pain and swelling. Because of its size, the venom yield is less than the bigger Rhombic Night Adder. Bites are seldom serious, with swelling subsiding within a few days. Anti-venom is neither effective, nor required.
Moist savanna, lowland forest and fynbos where toad and frog prey abound.
Terrestrial, specialising on toads and frog prey. Largely inoffensive and docile but if aroused, hisses and puffs ferociously, inflating body to a great extent, often raising forepart off the ground, sliding forward with neck horizontally inflated. Tends to lash rather than strike. If aggressor retreats to a safe distance, snake moves off with head well-raised off the ground. Accounts for many bites, especially in KZN and the Eastern Cape. For several reasons, the name ‘Night Adder’ is misleading; often at large during the day and possessing round pupils typical of diurnal snakes (most adders have vertical eye pupils); has large scales on top of the head (most adders have small scales); reproduces by egg-laying, unlike adders which give birth to fully-developed young.