NAMIB DESERT, NAMIBIA
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If you find yourself wandering through the vast deserts of Namibia, watch where you put your feet! The Peringuey adder, also known as Bitis peringueyi, spends much of its time buried under the sand. As an ambush predator, the snake needs to remain unseen, and the sand provides the perfect camouflage.
Dr Brian Crother from Southeastern Louisiana University says: “The desert adder burrows into the sand, leaving its eyes, that sit on top of his head, and its black-tipped tail exposed. The black tail tip is gently waved about and used as a lure to bring lizards [its prey] within striking distance.”
As a desert- dweller, the snake has a number of adaptations to survive in the harsh environment. First, it can travel using a form of locomotion called ‘sidewinding’, where just two points of its body are in contact with the sand at a time. This allows it to move quickly across loose terrain, and reduces contact with the hot sand. Second, water from morning fog condenses on its body, which it then drinks.