Summary details for Atractaspis bibronii

If you are unsure of the identification of a snake you have observed, you can ask an expert for snake identification by uploading a photo to the Snakes of Namibia facebook page.

You can also get help from their amazing album of infographics of the common snake species in Namibia.

The facebook page also has contact details for snake catchers - people who are experienced in catching and removing snakes - throughout the country.

In the case of a snake bite, email "snakebite" to snakebitedoc@gmail.com. Namibia's snakebite expert - Dr Buys - will respond immediately.

Bibron's Stiletto Snake

Atractaspis bibronii

This is a dark brown to black snake with small dark beady eyes, an indistinctive neck and a blunt ending tail with a sharp tip. In certain regions this snake may have a cream white belly. When threatened, it will arch its neck and twitch around. Found through out most of Namibia, avoiding the true desert and the far south, however there are two records present from Luderitz.

Stiletto snakes are short-tempered and mainly active at night. They are often encountered after the rains. During the day they hide underneath rocks, rotting logs and in termite mounds.

This snake has a unique set of fangs. It has a small gape and, unlike other venomous snakes whose fangs are vertically positioned, the Stiletto snake's fangs are positioned horizontally and pointing towards the back of the jaw. The fangs can move slightly, which enables the snake to extend a fang on each side of the mouth.

Mostly cytotoxic, causing painful swelling, which may be followed by discolouration and blistering. A single fang puncture mark is present. Regional lymph nodes are involved and become swollen and tender. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, dry mouth and throat have been reported.

Bites from this species are extremely common as many enthusiasts and herpetologist mistake them for harmless snakes

Bibron's Stiletto Snake
Bibron's Stiletto Snake © Photo: Francois Theart
Bibron's Stiletto Snake
Bibron's Stiletto Snake © Photo: Francois Theart
Bibron's Stiletto Snake
Bibron's Stiletto Snake © Photo: Francois Theart
Bibron's Stiletto Snake
Bibron's Stiletto Snake © Photo: Francois Theart