The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

 ISSN 0268-0130

2021 Impact Factor from Clarivate for the Herpetological Journal is 1.194, an increase of 0.332 from 2020.

pdf 01.Body size comparisons between wild and captive puff adders Bitis arietans


Open Access



Authors: Daniel Kane & Christopher J. Michaels

Abstract: Captivity can provide a resource-rich environment for snakes which may lead to over-conditioning of individuals. We compared captive and wild populations of Bitis arietans to see if a difference in scaled mass index (SMI) existed between the samples. Male B. arietans had significantly higher SMI in captivity than in the wild; there was no difference between wild and captive females. A sex-related difference in SMI between wild male and female B. arietans, evident in the wild, was not found in captivity. These results suggest that the captive management of B.arietans may require review to prevent over-conditioning of male snakes, and that this may be informed by further comparative research on wild and captive populations of this species.

Keywords: Body condition, captivity, scaled mass index, Viperinae


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Please note that as from Volume 31 Number 1 (January 2021) on, the Herpetological Journal will be available as an online publication only - the last print edition will be Volume 30 Number 4.   

Aligning with this change, it is now no longer possible to purchase a subscription that includes a print copy of the HJ.  All members who have existing HJ print subscriptions that remain active as at end June 2020 will receive the full four 2020 print editions.  New subscribers or renewals after this time will only have option to subscribe to the online only subscription package.  Subscription pricing has been amended to reflect the content changes.