Once in a lifetime experience - witnessing a Puff Adder giving birth
Visitors were treated to a rare spectacle at the National Zoo this month when the female Puff Adder (Bitis arietans) gave birth to 20 youngsters while enthralled visitors and staff watched.
The keepers knew the Puff Adder was pregnant but they could not predict the exact day she was due to give birth or the fact that she would give birth during mid-morning when so many visitors would have a chance to witness the event.
The Puff Adder took three hours to complete the birth of her 20 babies. (Picture: Chris Cooke)
Puff Adder babies only a few hours old. (Picture: Mike Jordan)
Chris de Beer, Curator of Reptiles at the National Zoo said, "We are delighted that all went so well and that some lucky visitors to the zoo had the once in a lifetime chance to witness the snake giving birth".
The female took around three hours to complete the birth of her 20 babies, two of which sadly were still born. The remaining 18 are all healthy and very active.
Mike Jordan, Senior Conservation Advisor at the National Zoo commented that the successful breeding of the Puff Adders and several other reptiles over the past three months is testament to the skill and dedication of the National Zoo's reptile keepers.
"The breeding of even fairly widespread species like the Puff Adder is an important part of us gaining and refining the skills that we use for breeding our rare and threatened species for conservation at the National Zoo," Mike said.
Chris de Beer and Mike Jordan, Conservation Department, National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
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