Cape Cobra vs Puff Adder
Cape cobras and puff adders are two extremely venomous snakes belonging to two different families. They exhibit a range of differences between them, but none of their venom has any excuse but fatal, if not treated with the anti-venom. Identification of the snake is vital to treat with the correct anti-venom; otherwise, the injected dose will kill the person. For an untrained person, differentiating these two notorious snakes would be difficult without being aware about their characteristic features and differences with each other.
Cape cobra, Naja nivea, is also known as yellow cobra because of its’ yellow coloured body. They are moderate sized snakes distributed in Southern Africa. Cape cobra has a small head with a laterally flattened neck region as in other cobras. They raise their neck with head held as a hood and hiss before biting the prey. Cape cobras produce powerful neurotoxins that affect the respiratory system of the victim. Within five to six hours from the bite, a human will die if not treated carefully. Cape cobras are great climbers, and can prey upon other snakes, birds, and rodents mostly. Nevertheless, honey badgers, mongoose, and raptor birds are their predators. They are nervous snakes, and often retreat in an alarming situation, but are very aggressive if provoked. They can live in dry environment with good adaptations. They are active during daytime and early evenings.
Puff adder, Bitis arietans, is a thick and heavy bodied snake in Africa. They have a flattened and triangular-shaped head, which is distinctive with a marked neck from the rest of the body. Their body colour ranges from blackish to greyish-brown with scale patterns mixed with white colour towards the ventral side. Puff adders are active at dusk than during daytime, and common in most of Africa including deserts, rain forests, and high altitudes, as well. This snake is ovoviviparous, and the eggs are developed and hatched inside mother’s body. Puff adder venom is cytotoxic with strong hematotoxins those affect the cardiovascular system of the victim. Puff adders are one of the most venomous snakes in Africa, and they are responsible for many of the fatal snakebite in the continent, because of their wide distribution and frequent incidence around humans.
What is the difference between Cape Cobra and Puff Adder?
• Cape cobra is an elapid cobra, while puff adder is a viper.
• Cape cobra is plain yellow in colour without scale patterns, whereas puff adder is blackish to greyish-brown with dark and white streak patterns all along the body.
• Puff adder is a thick and heavy bodied snake, but cape cobra is an average size snake.
• Head shapes are different in both snakes.
• Cape cobra is active during daytime, while puff adder is active at dusk.
• Puff adder venom is cytotoxic, and affects the cardiovascular system of the victim. However, cape cobra venom is neurotoxic, and affects the respiratory system of the victim.
• Cape cobra is oviparous, while puff adder is ovoviviparous.
• The number of puff adder attacks is higher than the incidence of cape cobra bites on humans.