The Puff Adder is one of Africa’s deadliest snake species, not only due to it’s deadly venom, but also because of the stealth it displays in ambushing prey.
The Puff Adder belongs to the family of vipers and can grow to between 3ft to 6ft in length.
It has a stumpy, robust build (aka the snake get muscles) and a large triangular head. The head is much wider than the neck.
The average weight of an adult Adder can be up to five kilograms. Males are larger than females. The colouration of the snake differs from region to region.
It is often termed a sluggish snake and relies on camouflage for protection. It’s movement is in the mode of that of a caterpillar, which is aided by its weight (muscles) for traction.
When agitated, it can move with surprising speed in the usual serpentine movement of snakes. The Puff Adder is a good swimmer and can also climb with ease.
Like most vipers, Puff Adders have hinged fangs through which venom is injected into prey. During a strike, the force of the impact is so strong and the long fangs penetrate so deeply, that the prey is often killed by the physical trauma alone. The fangs apparently can penetrate soft leather.
They can strike to a distance of about one third of their body length. But some will launch their entire body forward in the process. The snake does not usually grip its prey, it releases quickly to return to the striking position.
Puff Adders are known for their aggressive temperament, and when threatened, they take a tightly coiled defensive posture with the fore part of their body held in a taut S shape. Then
they inflate their upper body and hiss. This habit led to the snake being called Puff Puff, cancel that, it should be, Puff Adder. When they hiss and you don’t to adhere to the hissing, they will strike you. Without quick treatment, death is sure.
Recent study and video footages shows that the Puff Adder is not only a “waiter,” aka ambush predator, but knows how to attract prey to itself. Aside attracting prey to itself, it uses different techniques of attraction for different types of customers aka prey.
For customers such as Frogs, the snake will camouflage itself and start to use and move its tongue like an insect/worm. It mimics an insect/worm movement by wagging its tongue slowly and deliberately to attract nearby amphibians i.e. Frogs, Toads etc.
Frogs like to eat insects and worms. So like an hungry customer, the Frog goes for the meal. Once the Frog is within striking distance, the Puff Adder strikes and the Frog ends up with a venom filled body. The snake swallows it after it dies.
For another class of customers such as birds, the Puff Adder will camouflage and start to wave its tail in the air like a worm. Any hungry bird that comes close, ends up on the meal list.
For another class of customers, such as small rodents i.e. rats, attraction to position won’t work, so proper positioning is key. The snake will have to wait for the rat to come close to it. Thus, the Puff Adder has to know where to stay that the rat will stray to.
Two Quick principles we can glean from the Puff Adder are as follows:
1. What is your positioning strategy?
2. How well do you know your “starving crowd?”
An effective positioning strategy considers the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, the needs of the customers and the position of Competitors.
Positioning is a market concept that outlines what a business should do to market its product and services to customers. In positioning, an image is created for the product based on the intended audience/ customer.
We’ve touched on positioning, let’s focus a lil on the starving crowd. I first came across this in the book titled, Small Business, Big Money by Akin Alabi (NairaBet).
The concept of the starving crowd is originally from the Gary Halbert letters.
If you sell food, what you need the most is a starving crowd. They don’t care if the food is sweet or not, they just want to eat. But first, you need to locate/ identify and know/ understand them. Fact is, there is a market for every product, but no product for every market.
So find your starving crowd, know your starving crowd, so that you will be well positioned to know what to serve them.
The power of understanding your starving crowd is amazing. It’s like shooting a rifle with telescopic sight instead of a shot gun.
Who are your audience? Serve the niche aka meet their needs/ satisfy their wants.
First, know your starving crowd.
Next, position yourself to serve them well.
The Puff Adder can tell the difference between Frogs and Birds, it knows each prey’s food, where and how the prey seeks for food, and it knows how to attract them differently. To eat Rats, it’s all about the Puff Adder getting the positioning right.
Who are your starving crowd? What do you know about them? Are you in a position to attract and serve them? Are you positioned to attract your market or you are chasing after the market?
In the Bible, Esau is an example of a “starving crowd.”
But are you “Jacob-ed” to take advantage of this?
N.B. “Jacob-ed” is synonym of “positioned.”
Olumide Holloway (King Olulu)
Building capacity in people using words and poetry.