Africa Wild Reptile Book: Snakes - Photos & Descriptions

Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:45 pm

Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes



Upload your photo of a snake and add a description underneath. Please only do one snake per post. All entries will be edited and updated (additional photos and information will be added by moderators). New entries will be posted according to taxonomic order and the post date does not reflect the actual date of new posts.


Please don't post any comments here ;-) Comments are welcome here.

Africa Wild Reptile Book: Index to Snakes

Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:45 pm

Family Colubridae
Dasypeltis scabra Common Egg-eater, Rhombic Egg-eater http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 97#p185497
Dispholidus typus Boomslang http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 47#p189847
Duberria lutrix Common Slug Eater http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 61#p205961
Philothamnus hoplogaster Green Water Snake, South Eastern Green Snake http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 09#p144409
Philothamnus semivariegatus Spotted Bush Snake, Variegated Bush Snake http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 96#p116496
Psammophis leightoni leightoni Cape Whip Snake, Cape Sand Snake http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 63#p240863
Psammophis leightoni trinasalis Fork-marked Sand Snake, Kalahari Sand Snake http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 054#p81054
Psammophis mossambicus Olive Whip Snake, Olive Grass Snake http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 77#p237677
Psammophis subtaeniatus Western Stripe-bellied Sand Snake http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 36#p116336
Psammophylax rhombeatus Rhombic Skaapsteker, Spotted Skaapsteker, Spotted Grass Snake http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 17#p141917
Psammophylax tritaeniatus Striped Skaapsteker, Striped, Three-lined or White-bellied Grass Snake http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 97#p144090
Pseudaspis cana Mole Snake http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 363#p80363
Rhamphiophis rostratus Rufous Beaked Snake http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 374#p79374
Thelotornis capensis (Southern) Vine Snake, Twig Snake http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 87#p116487

Family Elapidae
Dendroaspis polylepis Black Mamba http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 98#p196898
Black Mambas in Combat by Sharifa: http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.php?p=199416#p199416
Hemachatus haemachatus Rinkhals Spitting Cobra http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 804#p80804
Naja anchietae Anchieta's Cobra, Angolan Cobra http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 98#p191498
Naja mossambica Mozambique Spitting Cobra http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 31#p212331
Naja nivea Cape Cobra http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 289#p79289

Family Lamprophiidae
Boaedon capensis Cape House Snake, Brown House Snake http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 01#p144201

Family Pythonidae
Python Sebae African Rock Python http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 404#p80404

Family Typholidae
Megatyphlops schlegelii, Rhinotyphlops schlegelii Schlegel's Beaked Blind Snake http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 986#p80986

Family Viperidae
Bitis arietans Puff Adder http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 874#p83874
Bitis caudalis Horned Adder http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 334#p80334
Causus defilippi Snouted Night Adder http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 51#p193451
Causus rhombeatus Rhombic Night Adder http://www.sagr.co.za/forum/viewtopic.p ... 420#p80420

Re: Snakes - Pics & Descriptions

Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:57 pm

Cape Cobra Naja nivea (Kaapse geelslang, Koperkapel, Geelkapel, Bruinkapel)
Family: Elapidae

Image © Toko
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Image © Mel
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Characteristics
• Broad typical Head
• Generally in drier habitats
• Spreads a hood when threatened, fairly aggressive species
• Diurnal
• Typical Cobra - Smooth shiny scales

Image

Description
The Cape cobra is a medium sized species of cobra. Mature specimens typically are about 1.2 m long, but it may grow up to 1.8 m in length. Males are slightly larger than females.
It varies widely in color; it ranges from yellow through golden brown to dark brown and even black. In addition, individuals show a varying degree of black or pale stippling and blotches, and although it has been stated that colour and marking are geographically related, it is also possible to observe virtually all colour varieties at one location. For example, it is well known that the Kalahari Desert specimens in Botswana and Namibia are usually more consistently yellow than the more southerly populations. However, at DeHoop, and other specific locations in the Western Cape, all colour variations have been recorded. Juvenile specimens generally have conspicuously dark throats extending down the belly for the width of a dozen or so ventral scales. The colour fades during the first year or two of life.

Scalation
Midbody scales are in 19-21 rows, with 195-227 ventrals and 50-68 paired subcaudals. The anal shield is entire. There are 7 upper labials with the 3rd and 4th entering the eye, and 9 (sometimes 8 or 10) lower labials, as well as 1 preocular and 3 (sometimes 4) postoculars. Temporals are variable, usually 1+3.

Geographical distribution
This species is endemic to southern Africa. In South Africa, where it mainly occurs, they can be found throughout the Cape Province, Free State Province, and southwestern Transvaal. It is also found in the southern half of Namibia, southwestern Botswana, and western Lesotho. They are also found in the Kalahari desert, particularly in the southern regions of theKalahari.

Image

Habitat
The Cape cobra occurs in a variety of different habitats. This species' preferred habitat is fynbos, bushveld,karoo scrubland, arid savanna, and deserts such as the Namib desert and the Kalahari desert where it can be found in rodent burrows, abandoned termite mounds and, in arid regions, rock crevices. Where it occurs in temperate regions and arid karroid regions, it is often found along rivers and streams entering well-drained, open areas. In Lesotho, they can even be found in altitudes as high as 2500 m above sea level. They occur in forest and high grassland areas of Free State province. It can also be found in rocky hills of the Cape and in desert and semi-desert areas of its geographical range. Cape cobras are also known to venture into villages, partially developed suburbs, and squatter communities where they may enter houses to escape the heat of the day. This brings them into direct contact with humans.

Behaviour
The Cape cobra is a diurnal species and actively forages throughout the day. During very hot weather it may become crepuscular, but is rarely if ever observed during the hours of darkness. It is a terrestrial snake, but will readily climb trees and bushes. When not active, it hides in holes or under ground cover, such as brush piles, often remaining in the same retreat for some time. It is a quick moving and alert species, and although generally not as aggressive as some other African species of venomous snake, when disturbed the Cape cobra will raise its forebody off the ground and spread a broad hood and hiss loudly. Once on the defensive, it strikes readily. If the threat remains motionless, the snake will quickly look for an escape, but any sort of movement will get the snake into a defensive posture again. The Cape cobra is more aggressive during the mating period.

Diet
This species of cobra is a feeding generalist. It feeds on a wide spectrum of prey, including other snakes, rodents, lizards, birds, and carrion. Recorded prey items for this species at DeHoop showed that 31% of the species' diet consisted of rodents, 20% was other snakes (including juvenile and small adult puff adders), 11% lizards, 11% birds, 16% carrion, and 11% "conspecifics". In the same study period conducted at DeHoop, Cape cobras were seen scavenging and feeding on carrion on two occasions. Both were road-killed snakes. It is also well known for raiding Sociable Weaver nests. Cape cobras can be cannibalistic, sometimes eating the young of its own kind.

Predators
Predators of the Cape cobra include the honey badger, other carnivorous mammals, various birds of prey (secretarybirds and snake eagles), and other snakes may also prey on this species. Meerkats and the mongoose, which have a high resistance to its venom, often prey on the Cape cobra and are its main predators.

Reproduction
This species is oviparous. Mating season is during the months of September and October, when these snakes may be more aggressive than usual. Females lay between 8 and 20 eggs (roughly 60 X 25 mm in size) in summer (December–January), in a hole or an abandoned termite mound or some other warm, wet location. The hatchlings measure between 34 and 40 cm in length and are completely independent from birth. In one captive study, mating occurred in the month of September and oviposition in November. Gestation period was approximately 42 days and the incubation period was 65–70 days at about 28-33°C. Clutch size was 11-14 and hatchling ratio was one male to five females.

Venom
The venom is thick like syrup and as toxic as the black mamba's. The average venom yield is 120mg- 250mg. To kill a human, only 15-20 mg is needed. The venom is neurotoxic, and death usually occurs from the rapid onset of paralysis. Large volumes of antivenom are urgently needed to treat a bitten person. This species is responsible for the majority fatal snakebites.

Links: Bill Branch, William R. Branch: A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa; Johan Marais: Snakes and Snake bite in Southern Africa

Image © Tina
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Image © nan
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Image © nan
Cape Cobra raiding a sociable weavers nest.

Image © ExFmem
A Cape cobra devouring a Mole snake (Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park)

Re: Snakes - Pics & Descriptions

Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:31 am

Rufous Beaked Snake Rhamphiophis rostratus (Haakneusslang)
Family: Colubridae

Image Kruger National Park

Image

Description
A shortened skull giving it a clear distinction between head and body. A prominent hooked beak. A dark line on either side of the head starting from the nostril to the back of the eye. Eyes are big with round pupils. Its back tends to be yellowish to reddish brown, it's belly is cream. Adults can reach up to 1.6m.

Scalation
Midbody scales are in 17-19 rows, with 148-194 ventrals and 87-118 subcaudals. The anal shield is divided.

Geographical Distribution
Kruger Park and the most northern parts of South Africa.

Habitat
Bushveld and thornveld biomes.

Behaviour
The Rufous Beaked Snake is diurnal and stays in burrows during the hottest part of the day. They hunt by burrowing and kill by envenomation and sometimes constriction. They pose no threat to humans and hardly even attempt to bite.

Diet
Rodents, lizards, birds, amphibians and occasionally insects.

Predators
Birds of prey and other snakes.

Reproduction
Oviparous. Females lay 8-17 cylindrical eggs over the span of several days in summer. The young are 30cm long.

Venom
The venom causes hypotension and circulatory shock in small animals but not dangerous to humans.

Re: AW Reptile Book: Snakes - Pics & Descriptions

Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:26 pm

Horned Adder Bitis caudalis (Horingadder, Horingsman)
Family: Viperidae

Image Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

Image

Characteristics
• Short, stocky snake with distinctive triangular head
• Horn above each eye
• Coils, inflates its body, hisses and strikes, when confronted
• Most active at dusk
• Hidden in sand with only parts of the head exposed

Description
A small heavy-bodied viperid snake with a wide head. It grows to an average length of 40 cm but may reach 60cm. Identified by an hourglass marking on the head, a single, neat, horn-like scale above each eye and its habit of concealing its body in loose sand. The colour pattern of the Horned Adder is very variable depending on the habitat in which it is found. Generally it consists of a dark V shape over the back of the head followed by a series of dark blotches down each side and along the spine. The dark blotches are often flanked by lighter patches and spots. The background colour varies from pale grey to rich red brown and the pale blotches vary from yellow-buff to pale blue.

Scalation
The dorsal scales are keeled and are in 23-31 rows at midbody (rarely 21 rows), with 120-155 ventral scales and 16-40 paired subcaudals. The anal shield is entire. There are 10-14 upper labials, none entering the eye, 10-16 scales around the eye and 10-15 lower labials.

Geographical distribution
Horned Adders occur widely from the Kalahari sands of western Zimbabwe, northern parts of Limpopo province, south along the arid western parts of North West province, including the Magaliesberg in Gauteng, much of the Northern Cape and to the Tankwa Karoo in the Western Cape and then north into Namibia, southern Angola and Botswana.

Image

Habitat
Namib desert, Karoo scrub and arid savanna. They tolerate very arid conditions and prefer the arid interior, particularly on sandy substrates into which they may shuffle to help conceal themselves.

Behaviour
The Horner Adder is a sit and wait forager like most adders and relies on its excellent camouflage and the shelter of low vegetation to allow its prey to approach with striking distance. Striking is very fast and these snakes put on a good display of puffing themselves up, hissing and striking at every movement when disturbed. Prefers to lie in the shade of small scrub and shuffles down into the sand, which aids concealment and offers protection from heat. Active at dusk, it may sidewind in loose sand.

Diet
Horned adders feed primarily on lizards (especially lacertids, skinks, and geckos) but also take other small vertebrates (small rodents, birds and frogs).

Predators
Birds of prey (including secretary birds and snake eagles) and other snakes.

Reproduction
Viviparous (gives birth to live young; three to eight young are born in summer or early autumn.

Venom
I has dangerous cytotoxic venom which although non-lethal can cause tissue damage and severe pain but heal well.

Links: Bill Branch, William R. Branch: A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa

Re: AW Reptile Book: Snakes - Pics & Descriptions

Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:49 pm

Mole Snake Pseudaspis cana (Molslang, Swartslang or Luislang)
Family: Colubridae

Image KTP

Image © nan

Image © nan

Image © nan

Image © nan

Size
The average length is 1.4 meters but especially in the Western Cape they can grow up to 2 meters in length.

Description
A large, thickset snake with a pointed head with a remarkable long, sharp snout. The colour varies from beige to brown to grey to pitch black. Western Cape adults usually are black. Juveniles are differently coloured. They have a beige background with a row of brown spots down each side and a wavy dorsal strip and the eyes have a red iris. In the second year they slowly loose their markings.

Image juvenile © ExFmem

Image black morph © ExFmem

Scalation
Smooth scales.

Geographical Distribution
A widely spread snake that can be found Southern Africa, ranging from Angola to Kenya and to the south. It is common in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Habitat
Occurs in nearly all habitats, from scrublands to highveld plateaus, but prefers grassveld. The Mole Snake has also been found in mountainous and desert areas.

Behaviour
It is an inoffensive snake and will try to move off if encountered. If cornered and provoked it will hiss and strike and if restrained will attempt to bite. The bite is powerful and the teeth may inflict painful cuts. Mole snakes live in the abandoned burrows of other animals and stay underground a lot as they can find their rodent prey here. Due to the sharp snout, smooth scales and powerful muscles it moves easily underground. This snake is active above ground during spring and may be relatively common in habitats with large populations of its prey. Males engage in combat during the breeding season in spring.

Image © nan

Diet
Rodents, i.e. rats, mice and gerbils as well as moles and birds. Its diet may also include the eggs of seafowl. At Robben Island, mole snakes were observed eating the eggs of African penguin, Harlaub's gull and helmeted Guinea-fowl. Juveniles are mainly restricted to lizards but were seen eating clicking stream frogs, too.
The Mole snake is a nest predator of the Karoo prinia. It is one of at least six snake species that causes reproductive loss and decrease of nest success in the Karoo prinia.

Predators
Honey badgers, jackals, birds of prey – i.e. secretary birds and snake eagles, other snakes.

Image © ExFmem
Mole snake preyed upon by a Cape cobra

Reproduction
Viviparous. Between between 25 and 50 young; up to 95 in rare cases in late summer. The youngsters are 25 to 30cm long at birth.

Venom
Non-venomous but bites may be painful.

Links: William R. Branch: Field Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa; Johan Marais: Snakes and Snake bite in Southern Africa

Re: AW Reptile Book: Snakes - Pics & Descriptions

Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:54 am

African Rock Python Python sebae (Luislang)
Family: Pythonidae

Image

Image

Image

Image © Heksie

Image © Heksie

Image © leachy
Kruger National Park

Description
Africa’s largest snake species and one of the world's largest, the typical African rock python adult measures 4.8 m. Weights are reportedly in the range of 44 to 55 kg with a few weighing 91 kg or more. The body is thick and covered with coloured blotches, often joining up in a broad, irregular stripe. Body markings vary between brown, olive, chestnut, and yellow, but fade to white on the underside. The head is triangular and is marked on top with a dark brown “spear-head” outlined in buffy yellow. Teeth are many, sharp, and backwardly curved. Under the eye, there is a distinctive triangular marking, the subocular mark. Like all pythons, the scales of the African rock python are small and smooth.

Taxonomy
The African Rock Python (Python sebae) is one of seven species in the genus Python, a genus of large constricting snakes found in the moist tropics of Asia and Africa. The African rock python is divided into two subspecies, Python sebae sebae (also often called the African rock python) and Python sebae natalensis (the Southern African rock python). Some consider the more southerly population of this snake to be a separate species, Python natalensis, while others consider this form to be a subspecies.

Geographical Distribution
The African Rock Python is found throughout almost the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal east to Ethiopia and Somalia and south to Namibia and South Africa.

Image

Habitat
The African Rock Python inhabits a wide range of habitats, including forest, savanna, grassland, semi-desert, and rocky areas. It prefers a habitat of open savannah regions, usually rocky areas and riverine scrub. It is particularly associated with areas of permanent water and is found on the edges of swamps, lakes and rivers. The snake also readily adapts to disturbed habitats and so is often found around human habitation, especially cane fields.

Behaviour
The African rock python is dependent on water and becomes dormant during the dry season. They live up to 30 years. They are solitary. Like all pythons they kill by constricting their prey. The African rock python can live for up to a year without food if the animal it eats is big enough to sustain it.
They can often be found basking after feeding and will enter water to lie in wait for prey. They can also dive into deeps pools with the ability to stay underwater for long periods.

Diet
African pythons are carnivores. They eat crocodiles, pigs, goats, birds, small buck and monkeys, fish, monitors and crocodiles.

Image © Bookworm

Image © Bookworm
Klein Kariba, Bela Bela (Limpopo Province)

Predators
When the snake is small, predators , such as monitor lizards, crocodiles, birds of prey, cats, and pigs hunt the python. It has few predators as an adult, except for man. But it is vulnerable to attack from the African wild dog and hyenas when it is swollen with prey.

Reproduction
Reproduction occurs in the spring. African rock pythons are oviparious, laying between 20 and 100 hard-shelled, elongated eggs (the size of an orange) in an old animal burrow, termite mound or cave. The female shows a surprising level of maternal care, coiling around the eggs, protecting them from predators and possibly helping to incubate them, until they hatch around 90 days later. It was recently discovered in a manner unusual for snakes in general and pythons in particular that the female guards the hatchlings for up to two weeks after they hatch from their eggs in order to protect them from predators.
Hatchlings are between 45–60 cm in length and appear virtually identical to adults, except with more contrasting colors. Individuals may live for over 12 years in captivity.

Venom
Non-venomous.

Video: Image © nan

Links: William R. Branch. Field Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa, Warren Schmidt: Reptiles and Amphibians of Southern Africa

Re: AW Reptile Book: Snakes - Pics & Descriptions

Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:02 pm

Rhombic Night Adder African/Cape Night Adder, Cape viper Causus rhombeatus (Nagadder)
Family: Viperidae. Subfamily: Causinae

Image © Flutterby
Johannesburg

Description
The Causinae are a subfamily of venomous vipers found only in subsaharan Africa. It was created for the genus Causus; a group considered to be among the most primitive members of the family Viperidae based on head scalation, oviparity, venom apparatus and the fact that they have round pupils.
With an average length of 60 cm, this is the largest member of the genus Causus. The head has a snout that is relatively blunt (i.e. more rounded that other members of this genus), on the sides of which the nostrils are positioned. The color pattern consists of a ground color that is usually some shade of brown (possibly pinkish or grayish-brown), but occasionally olive green. This is overlaid with a pattern of 20-30 rhombic blotches that have pale edges, as well as a sprinkling of black scales and oblique black bars on the sides. Each oblique black bar is topped by one or two black spots, each with a pale centre, and strongly resembling an eye. The head has a characteristic V-shaped mark that may be solid black, or brown with a black outline

Scalation
The temporal scales usually number 2+3, sometimes 2+4, but very rarely 2+2 or 3+3. At midbody there are 15-21 rows of dorsal scales that are moderately keeled and have a satiny texture. The ventral scales number 120-166, the subcaudals 15-36.

Geographical Distribution
The Rhombic Night adder is found all along South Africa's east coast. It is also present in Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Limpopo and the Free State (only a very small isolated population). This snake has also been found in Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and on the border of Botswana and Namibia (in the Caprivi strip).

Habitat
Moist savanna, lowland forest and fynbos.

Behaviour
This is an active species that can often move relatively quickly—up to an estimated speed of 92 cm per second. They are usually found on the ground, but have no trouble climbing or swimming. They are largely nocturnal, but are often seen basking in the early morning or late afternoon. Most specimens are docile, seldom attempting to bite unless severely provoked. When seriously disturbed, they will put on a "ferocious" threat display that includes coiling up, inflating the body (making the dark markings stand out), hissing and puffing loudly, flattening the anterior portion of the body, and striking frantically. They may also flatten the neck and move forward with the tongue extended, much like a small cobra. Striking is done with such vigor that small specimens may lift themselves off the ground entirely

Diet
The diet consists mainly of toads, but it also includes frogs and small mammals.

Predators
This snake species is fed on by other snakes, monitor lizards and birds of prey (particularly secretary birds and snake eagles).

Reproduction
Females produce an average clutch of two dozen eggs that require a lengthy incubation period of approximately four months. The hatchlings are 10-12.5 cm in length and feed on tiny frogs and toads

Venom
The few documented bites involved pain and minor swelling with minimal necrosis. These symptoms usually disappear within 2-3 days. There have been no modern well-documented cases to back up earlier claims of fatalities due to bites from this species.

Links: Bill Branch, William R. Branch: A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa

Image © Sprocky

Image © Sprocky

Image © Sprocky

Image © Sprocky
Phalaborwa

Re: AW Reptile Book: Snakes - Pics & Descriptions

Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:38 pm

Rinkhals, Ring-necked Spitting Cobra Hemachatus haemachatus (Spuugslang)
Family: Elapidae

Image
Rietvlei Nature Reserve

Characteristics
• Broad typical head
• Spreads a hood when threatened.
• Spitting species. Most often spits from hooded position.
• Grey keeled scales
• White bands on black ventral scales
• Shams death when hassled.

Image

Size
Their average length is 90-110cm, but may reach or exceed 1.5m.

Description
A dull, black or brown body (most specimen in Gauteng) that has white bars on the neck. This can be between 1 and 3 bars, but usually 2. They have keeled scales (rough scales), which along with being viviparous are the predominant features that do not get them classified as true cobras. They also have light bars on dark ventral scales, whereas the cobras have dark bars on lighter scales. The ventral scales of this species are normally dark grey to light grey, but white in juveniles. Subadults have black speckling which starts to the centre of the ventral scales. Banded phases do occur, but along the coastlines. This snake can also be identified by its ability to play dead.

Scalation
The dorsal scales are keeled; 17–19 rows of dorsal scales at midbody; 116–150 ventral scales. The anal plate is entire; 30–47 subcaudal scales, paired. 7 upper labial scales; upper labials 3 and 4 entering the eye; 1 preocular (rarely up to 3); 3 postoculars; 8–9 lower labials.

Geographic distribution
This snake species is widely distributed being found in the Western Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, parts of Gauteng and throughout Lesotho and Swaziland.

Image

Habitat
It has a wide variety preferred habitats which includes grasslands, savanna, low land forest, fynbos and has been known to regularly enter peoples homes. Predominantly near water or where frog densities are high.

Behaviour
If distressed, their main means of defence is hooding and then spitting their venom. They are only able to spit from this hooded position. The venom range is usually around twice the body length and in adults this may be 2-3m. Should this defence fail they sham death and convincingly so. The tongue will often hang out of a twisted inverted upper body and it will lay limp.

Diet
The rinkhals has a varied diet. Its main prey is toads, but it also eats lizards, rodents, other snakes, birds and even birds eggs.

Predators
Fed on by birds of prey (particularly Secretary birds and Snake eagles), other snakes.

Reproduction
Rinkhals are unique amongst African cobras in being ovoviviparous. They give birth to between 20 and 30 (although it can have as many as 60) young during summer (December – March). New-born youngs measure 16-22cm.

Venom
The Rinkhals has potentially deadly neurotoxic venom that will not as deadly as the Cape cobra could still kill a man. Symptoms of a bite are local swelling and bruising and general symptoms of drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, violent abdominal pain, cramps and vertigo often occur.
This snake also unique because it is one of 3 snake species in South Africa that is able spit its venom. This snake is dangerous because its venom can cause blindness when directed into the eyes.

Image © Vleisvreter
Outside Piet Retief

Re: AW Reptile Book: Snakes - Pics & Descriptions

Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:04 pm

Schlegel's Beaked Blind Snake Megatyphlops schlegelii, Rhinotyphlops schlegelii (Schlegel se Haakneusblindslang, Reuse Erdslang)
Family: Typhlopidae

Image
Ben Lavin Nature Reserve

Size
It grows to an average length of 60 cm but may reach up to 1m snout-vent length.

Description
It is the most common and largest of eight blind snake species in the region. A relatively large thick-bodied snake, with a blunt head and a beaked snout. The rostral scale overhangs the mouth to form a shovel-like burrowing structure. It has small yet prominent black eyes. The broad tail is very short and ends in a sharp spike.
Three distinct color phases are found: uniform, blotched, or striped. Uniform phase specimens are black to brown dorsally, straw-colored ventrally. Blotched phase individuals have black to dark brown irregular blotches dorsally, and are yellow-green to yellow ventrally and on the sides. The striped phase results from each scale being edged with black. These black lines merge with age.

Scalation
Overlapping scales on back and belly. Scales arranged in 30-44 rows around the body. More than 300 scales in the vertebral row (maximum 623). The large rostral scale is strongly angled and heavily keratinized, forming a prominent snout with a sharp, horizontally oriented cutting edge.

Distribution
It is endemic to eastern and southern Africa. Found in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and southern Mozambique.

Habitat
Its favoured habitats are coastal forest and moist savanna.

Behaviour
A burrowing snake that spends most time underground. It may be seen when it comes to the surface on warm nights or after rain.

Diet
Predominately eats termites and other invertebrates.

Predators
Eaten by other snakes.

Reproduction
This species is oviparous (egg-laying). A female usually lays 12-40 eggs, but very large individuals may lay as many as 60. The eggs, which are laid in late spring or summer, hatch in 5–6 weeks.

Links: William R. Branch: Field Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa

Image © JustN@ture
Kruger National Park, H7

Image © The Cow
H4-1, Kruger National Park

Image © Hawkeyes
Striped phase

Image © Amoli
Striped phase

Image © Amoli
Kruger National Park, H1-1