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Puffadder Release 4 November 2017

05 Nov 2017 Posted by in Environment | 4 comments

Yesterday a small group of the Friends of Zeekoevlei & Rondevlei (FOZR) released a female puffadder into the southern side of Rondevlei. She was removed from a property in the southern suburbs the day before. Those who were present at her release saw how quickly an animal like this can disappear into a small bush and become all but invisible with its camouflage. Puffadders are ambush hunters and rely on their camouflage for hunting and to avoid predators.
Puffadder ex Westlake

Puffadder ex Westlake 2

Our walk through the reserve also turned up a number of interesting butterfly species; of particular interest were three individuals of the Unique Ranger (Kedestes lenis lenis). This small butterfly is restricted to the coastline between Muizenberg and Strandfontein. It is now restricted to a few patches of suitable habitat within the False Bay Nature Reserve and is listed as Endangered. This butterfly lays its eggs on sword grass, which is the caterpillars only food plant. Curiously sword grass is found from Cape Town to China but the butterfly is only known from these few kilometers of coastline!

The Unique Ranger Butterfly (Kedestes lenis lenis); an endangered species now only found in the False Bay Nature Reserve

The Unique Ranger Butterfly (Kedestes lenis lenis); an endangered species now only found in the False Bay Nature Reserve

Other butterflies found on our walk about were; the Sand Dune Widow (Tarsocera cassina), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Silver Arrowhead (Phasis thero thero) and the Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli).

Sand Dune Widow

Sand Dune Widow (Tarsocera cassina)

Silver Arrowhead (Phasis thero thero)

Silver Arrowhead (Phasis thero thero)

Vanessa cardui

Painted Lady

  1. Len Davies11-05-17

    Thanks for sharing Dalton!

  2. Tom Schwerdtfeger11-05-17

    Great shots of the Puffadder Dalton ! Getting in there !

  3. Jimmy11-07-17

    Thanks for these.
    1. Is the puffadder colouring annual or seasonal?, gender differentiated?, age differentiated? I’d like to be able to recognise young and old of both genders at any time of year!
    2. Please can we have more notice of talks. They are very educative and deserve support, but it’s often simply not possible to fit in and/or change plans at short notice.

    Thanks again.

  4. Dalton11-08-17

    HI Jimmy

    Puffadders vary quite a bit in colour geographically and generally take on the colour of the surrounding landscape. That said, younger puffadders tend to be a brighter colour and then get darker as they get older. Females have shorter tails than males – a feature that is visible in most snake species. They dont go through any seasonal changes in colour.

    Apologies for the short notice – this particular walk about on the reserve wasn’t advertised as it was spur of the moment – I received the puffadder the evening before and so could only advertise that evening.

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