Many Horned Adder Snakes

Bitis cornuta is a venomous viper species found in certain rocky desert areas, mostly along the Atlantic coast of southern Africa. They have characteristic tufts of horns above each eye. Two subspecies are currently recognized, including the nominate subspecies described here.

Small and stout, they grow to an average length of 30–50 cm. The maximum recorded length is 75 cm for a captive specimen.

Common names include many-horned adder snake, hornsman snake, western hornsman adder snake, and western many-horned adder snake.

The many-horned adder ranges from thr coastal region of southwest Namibia through west and southwest Cape Province in South Africa, with a few isolated populations in eastern Cape Province. The type locality given is "Cap de Bonne-espérance" (Cape of Good Hope, South Africa). Actually, according to Patterson's itinerary, the type was observed in coastal Namaqualand, on 1 September 1779.

This species prefers rocky desert areas in dwarf succulent veld and mountain slopes in heathland vegetation.

With a nervous disposition, when disturbed, it will hiss loudly and strike so energetically that most of its body is lifted off the ground in the process. However, it usually settles down in captivity.