skaapsteker, noun

Forms:
scarpsticker, schaap steckerShow more Formerly also scarpsticker, schaap stecker, schaap-steeker, schaap-steker, schaapsticker, schaapstiker, schapsticker.
Origin:
Afrikaans, South African DutchShow more Afrikaans, earlier South African Dutch schaapsteker, schaap sheep + steker piercer, sticker; so called because reputed to attack sheep.
Any of several venomous (but unaggressive) snakes of the genus Psammophyllax, especially P. rhombeatus and P. tritaeniatus, both greyish-brown with darker markings; sheep-sticker; sheep-stinger; sheep-striker.
Note:
In B. Branch’s Field Guide to Snakes (1988), the name spotted or rhombic skaapsteker is used for P. rhombeatus, and ‘striped skaapsteker’ for P. tritaeniatus.
1818 C.I. Latrobe Jrnl of Visit 353Our good natured Hottentots, perceiving that I had begun to collect serpents, brought me several kinds, among which were the..schaapsteker, (sheep stinger); and copra di capella.
1834 T. Pringle Afr. Sketches 280There are several species of snakes..such as the nacht-slang (night adder), the schaap-steeker (sheep-stinger), [etc.].
1847 A Bengali Notes on Cape of G.H. 82The ‘schaap-stikker’ or sheep-stifler; and the ‘Ringel Hals’ or Ring-throat, all venomous.
1856 C.J. Andersson Lake Ngami 303Different species of what the Dutch term ‘schaap-steker,’ or sheep-stinger..are also occasionally met with.
1890 A. Martin Home Life 256The schaapsticker..has a wonderfully marked skin, the pretty and bright tints of which might well be utilized by some artistic designer of floor-cloths.
1905 W.L. Sclater in Flint & Gilchrist Science in S. Afr. 147Among the Opisthoglypha, the commonest forms are the so-called night adder..and the Schaap-stikker or sheep stinger (Trimerorohinus rhombeatus), a handsome species with rhomboid brown markings on the back and sides.
1910 V.F.M. Fitzsimons Snakes of S. Afr. 57The farmer, or his herdman comes along, finds the dying sheep, and seeing Schaapstekers about, immediately concludes they are the guilty parties, hence the name Schaapsteker, which means sheepsticker.
1939 Outspan 16 June 29Back-fanged snakes, e.g. boomslang, herald snake or skaapstekers, have their fangs situated between the front and base of the upper jaw, also on either side, and in the back maxilliary bone.
1947 L.G. Green Tavern of Seas 121You may meet a yellow cobra in a suburban garden, a skaapsteker in the backyard, a puffadder or boomslang in your path as you walk up the slopes of Table Mountain.
1971 The 1820 Vol.43 No.10, 20Skaap-stekers and boomslangs are venomous, but they are back-fanged snakes and not aggressive, so we do not worry about them.
1973 Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. IX. 651The name skaapsteker is quite misleading and unfortunate, as there is certainly no truth in the widespread belief that these snakes are in the habit of biting and killing sheep.
1985 S.-Easter Oct.Nov. 35My partner claims he spotted a snake (a Rhombic, or spotted Skaapsteker, he thinks it was), but I think he was just trying to speed up the pace.
Any of several venomous (but unaggressive) snakes of the genus Psammophyllax, especially P. rhombeatus and P. tritaeniatus, both greyish-brown with darker markings; sheep-sticker; sheep-stinger; sheep-striker.
Entry Navigation

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary

Senses

18181985