Ten of the more common snake species found around Grahamstown


The List is in no particular order, all info ascertained from books published by Johan Marais. References are listed at the end.


Brown House Snake (Boaedon capensis)

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Family: Colubridae

Average length: 60-90cm

Habitat: Common around houses where it is often found under building rubble, rocks and corrugated metal

Diet: Rodents and other small vertebrates

Danger to man: None


Common Slug Eater (Duberria lutrix)

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Family: Colubridae

Average length: 30-35cm

Habitat: Often found underneath rocks, logs, tufts of grass and other vegetation

Diet: Slugs and snails

Danger to man: None


Puff Adder (Bitis arietans)

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Family: Viperidae

Average length: 90-100cm

Habitat: The snake spends much of its time under bushy cover where it uses its’ camouflage to blend into its surroundings

Diet: Rats, mice and other small vertebrates

Danger to man: Very dangerous cytotoxic venom that and can kill if left untreated


Western Natal Green Snake (Philothamnus natalensis occidentalis)

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Family: Colubridae

Average length: 60-90cm

Habitat: This snake is a fantastic climber that spends much of its time in trees and shrubs near water

Diet: Lizards, geckos and frogs

Danger to man: None


Spotted Skaapsteker (Psammophylax rhombeatus rhombeatus)

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Family: Colubridae

Average length: 45-85cm

Habitat: Found in a range of habitats, mainly  under rocks and fallen debris.

Diet: Rodents and other small vertebrates

Danger to man: Mildly venomous but posses no threat to man


Bibron’s Beaked Blind Snake (Typhlops bibronii)

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Family: Typhlopidae

Average length: 30-38cm

Habitat: burrowing snake that spends much of its time underground, but can be found above ground after heavy rains

Diet: Ants and termite larva

Danger to man: None


Rhombic Night Adder (Causus rhombeatus)

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Family: Viperidae

Average length: 30-60cm

Habitat: Common in damp areas where it can be found in old termite mounds, under rocks and under logs

Diet: Toads and other frogs

Danger to man: Mild cytotoxic venom that is dangerous but not life-threatening, hospitalization may be required though


Cross-Marked Whip Snake (Psammophis crucifer)

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Family: Colubridae

Average length: 60cm

Habitat: Found mainly inside old termie mounds and under rocks and other fallen debris

Diet: Lizards, geckos and frogs

Danger to man: Mildly venomous, but the venom is of no concern to man


Red-Lipped Herald (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia)

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Family: Colubridae

Average length: 30-70cm

Habitat: More commonly found in damp areas under rocks, building debris and compost heaps

Diet: Frogs, toads and sometimes lizards

Danger to man: Mildly venomous, but the venom is of no concern to man


Rhombic Egg Eater (Dasypeltis scabra)

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Family: Colubridae

Average length: 40-75cm

Habitat: Can be found in most habitats, but it is particularly common in old termite mounds

Diet: Bird eggs

Danger to man: None


References:

Marais, J. 2004. A Complete Guide to the Snakes of Southern Africa. Cape Town, STRUIK.

Marais, J. 2014. Snakes & Snakebite in Southern Africa. Cape Town, STRUIK Nature.


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