Don’t freak out but snakes are important too! Today’s endangered species is one of the most endangered reptiles in the world; the Albany adder. The picture makes the snake look huge but most Albany adders are 12 inches or less in length. There is not too much about this species so this post is sadly, going to be a little short.
The Albany adder hails from South Africa. It’s actually endemic to a very specific area; more on that in a bit. Of the couple sources I read, there’s conflicting information on when the Albany adder was first discovered. Some say 1937 but others say the early 1990s but what they both agree on is that only about 12 individuals have been recorded in all that time with the last sighting being in 2007. The Albany adder almost looks like a mini dragon to me. It has these protruding tufts above its eyes that almost resemble horns, long fangs that they can fold against the roof of their mouth when they’re not using them and has a black and white scale pattern. The Albany adder is part of the viper family. This means it is most probably venomous and uses that venom to take down prey. Albany adders are viviparous. This means instead of laying eggs, they have live births.
In order for an animal to be classified as extinct, it has to not have been seen or recorded in 10 years. This year, the Albany adder was almost considered extinct until a field officer came across not one, not two but four! Scientists were naturally ecstatic about this and shouted it to the heavens. But, remember I said the Albany adder is endemic to an area of South Africa. This area is on the classified need to know basis. That means only a handful of people know where this snake can be found in order to study it’s behavior, habitat, and other interactions. The reason they don’t want people to know more is because they’re afraid the snake will become a target for poachers. What poachers don’t know, they can’t utilize for profit. Like most venomous snakes, scientists sometimes take the risk of being bitten by one in order to diagnose the symptoms the venom causes and a cure for that snake’s bite. That hasn’t with the Albany adder (yet).
For now, the Albany adder is not officially listed on the IUCN Red list but it is considered to be critically endangered. However, because of this extraordinary find, scientists hope to learn more so they can present a case on why this species needs to be protected from extinction before it it goes extinct for real.