Eventful Bike Ride

Racing on a single track bike trail with wind streaming through your hair and shrubs blurring past. This is freedom.

SUDDENLY a bright pink mouth with fangs deadly strikes from underneath causing a surge of adrenaline. The dreaded, yet intricately beautiful puff adder.

^Check out our morning ride on the 2 min video.^

In the video you’ll notice many shrubs, succulents and thorn trees. The floral region is known as the Robertson Karoo.

The climate is semi-arid due to the region lying in the rainshadow of large mountain ranges. Summers are dry with temperatures reaching maximum of 40 ‘C ( 104 F) while winters are cool and moist with minimum of  -1’C (30 F). It has a average monthly precipitation of 7,7 mm in winter months (Apr – Oct).

Consequently the biome is a succulent shrubland. The plants are adapted to prevent water loss in the dry season.

Small-leaved Guarri
Small-leaved guarri with wrinkled leaves so that the leaves are rarely fully exposed to sunlight.
Aloe microstigma
Aloe microstigma has thick and fleshy leaves, which are enlarged to accommodate aqueous tissue inside. The leaves are also covered by a thin wax layer preventing water loss.
DCIM100GOPRO
The juvenile puff adder that crossed our path.

Interesting fact about puff adders:Puff adders hunt by ambushing their prey, and can lie motionless for weeks at a single location waiting for prey to pass. This behavior makes them vulnerable to predation.

A recent study at University of Witwatersrand found that (except for its visual camouflage) it has a chemical camouflage. They observed that dogs and the tame mongooses used in the study walked directly over motionless puff adders with both predators appearing to be completely unaware of the motionless snakes.

One can experience this amazing landscape at the Vroljikheid Nature Reserve near Robertson or at the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden near Worcester.

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12 thoughts on “Eventful Bike Ride”

    1. What makes the puff adder quite dangerous is the fact that they seldom flee when predators/prey comes by. Thus if you accidentally step over one without noticing, it’ll probably strike. They do warn you though by making the hissing sound that you can hear in the video if you listen carefully. Nevertheless I admire their beauty, at a distance!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You’re right about racing down a single-track. What a rush! Like doing the same on a fast horse, or tree-skiing. I’ve run over a rattlesnake before and been chased by a momma moose on a mountain bike.

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    1. Wow! I’m glad we don’t have them rattlesnakes here! I think South Africa is a relatively safe country in comparison with America – we don’t have stuff like bears or mountain lions. Thanks for the comment.

      Like

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