Bitis cornuta

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Bitis cornuta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Viperidae
Subfamily: Viperinae
Genus: Bitis
Species: B. cornuta
Binomial name
Bitis cornuta
(Daudin, 1803)
  • Vipera cornuta - Daudin, 1803
  • Vipera armata - A. Smith, 1826
  • Vip[era]. lophophris - Cuvier, 1829
  • Vip[era]. lophophrys - Wagler, 1830
  • Vipera Lophophris - Gray, 1831
  • Cerastes cornuta - Gray, 1842
  • Vipera (Echidna) atropoides - A. Smith, 1846
  • Vipera atropoides - A. Smith, 1846
  • Clotho cornuta - Gray, 1849
  • Cerastes lophophrys - Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854
  • V[ipera]. (cerastes) cornuta - Jan, 1863
  • Vipera (Clotho) cornuta - Higgins, 1873
  • Bitis cornuta - Boulenger, 1896
  • Bitis cornuta cornuta - Bogert, 1940[1][1]

Common names: many-horned adder,[2] hornsman,[3] western hornsman adder, western many-horned adder.[4]  
Bitis cornuta is a venomous viper species found in certain rocky desert areas, mostly along the Atlantic coast of southern Africa. They have a characteristic tuft of horns above each eye.[3] Two subspecies are currently recognized, including the typical form described here.[5]


Small and stout, growing to an average length of 30-50 cm. The maximum recorded length is 75 cm for a captive specimen.[4]

Geographic range

The coastal region of south-west Namibia through west and south-west Cape Province in South Africa. There are also 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.[1]


Prefers rocky desert areas in dwarf succulent veld and mountain slopes in heathland vegetation.[3]


Has 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.[3]


Species[1] Authority[1] Common name[4] Geographic range[4]
B. c. albanica Hewitt, 1937 Eastern many-horned adder South Africa (east and south Cape Province).
B. c. cornuta (Daudin, 1803) Western many-horned adder South-west Namibia and South Africa (west Cape Province).

See also

Cited references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).
  2. Species Bitis at the Species2000 Database
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Spawls S, Branch B. 1995. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa. Ralph Curtis Books. Dubai: Oriental Press. 192 pp. ISBN 0-88359-029-8.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Mallow D, Ludwig D, Nilson G. 2003. True Vipers: Natural History and Toxinology of Old World Vipers. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida. 359 pp. ISBN 0-89464-877-2.
  5. Bitis cornuta (TSN 634952) at Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Accessed 4 April 2007.

External links