The Puff Adder or ‘monarub’

In the species section you can find the working file of Bitis arietans.

The Puff Adder or monarub (Bitis arietans) is a hefty viper with a wide distribution in Africa that presents some relic populations in Morocco, of great interest, although greatly endangered.

File of Bitis arietans

The run overs and  incontrolated captures to serve as tourist amusement in places like the Djemma El-Fna square is putting these populations close to their extintion.

Geographic range of Bitis arietans

When we travel to Marrakech or similar cities, we should remember that every coin we give to snake-charmers contributes to take two emblematic species, the Puff Adder from NW Africa and the Moroccan Black Cobra, a step closer to extinction.

If we ask the snake charmers, they will swear over the health of their children that they love the snakes and treat them like of their family, as they make a living of them. The reality is very different, and the snakes agonize several weeks, after their fangs are taken out with pliers, with their head inflamed because of the sores and the infection, dying shortly after and being replaced by other captured in the wild. This has greatly reduced the populations of both species.  In the photographic report by Michel Aymerich you can see with which extreme cruelty these animals are treated in these type of spectacles.

If vipers normaly have bad press, Bitis arietans is suposed to be the snake that more human deaths produces in África, although they are no oficial statistics, and in many countries they are no statistics at all.

More information in the Bitis arientans file.