Snakes

Red-tailed pipe snake

The ‘Red-tailed pipe snake’ (Cylindrophis ruffus) was recently renamed ‘Jodi’s pipe snake’ (Cylindrophis jodiae), which we are talking about here. It is called a ‘Pipe snake’ because it has a round, pipe-like body. The lower end of the body can…

Vine snakes of Africa

Vine Snakes (previously called Twig or Bird Snakes) are widespread across Africa and are usually found in warm savannas and forested areas. There are currently four species and one subspecies of Vine Snake in Africa. The status and distinguishing features…

Giant snakes

Seeing movies like Anaconda let many people believe that there are monster snakes in jungles, some even exceeding 10 m in length. However, those stories have been doing the rounds for many years. So much so that the New York…

Holiday time and snakes

As the holiday season starts, many people will be returning to their family homes or are off on vacation. Snake season is in full swing with decent temperatures and sporadic rain. We are currently seeing a number of snake bites…

Mambas of Africa

“Muhle wena kona hamba,skati wena bona mamba,noko wena hayi tshetsha,wena ifa lapa stretsha.” African proverb “It’s advisable to hamba (walker),when you stumble on a mamba,for if you do not tshetsha (move),you’ll expire on a stretcher.” Mambas have a bad reputation…

Snake Teeth and Fangs

Most snakes have quite long, thin, sharp, and recurved teeth for catching and eating prey. These teeth are firmly anchored to the anterior bone on the lower jaw and the upper jawbone. Just like sharks and crocodiles, snakes replace their…

About snake home ranges and territories

We are often asked whether snakes have a specific territory. The word territory is perhaps not the correct term as it infers that snakes would protect this area to keep other snakes out of it. Snakes do not live in…

Snake Season in Southern Africa

Spring (Sept/Oct in the Southern Hemisphere) is snake season and as the temperature rises, snakes leave their underground shelters in search of food. It is a slow process and they become more active as the temperature increases. Once the first…

The Green Mamba

The Green Mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps) was described by Sir Andrew Smith in 1849 from animals collected from Natal. Taxonomy The Latin name angusticeps comes from “angustus” meaning narrow and “ceps” an abbreviation for head – narrow head. Surprisingly, many years…

Preventing Snakebite in Southern Africa

Snakebite was recently recognized as a neglected tropical disease by the World Health Organization with about 20,000 snakebite fatalities reported every year in Africa. Subsequent morbidity affects far more people than that. In South Africa we have around 4 000…

Field dressing and cooking a puff adder

Puff adders (Bitis arietans) are widely distributed over the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa, except dense rainforest areas and Madagascar. A puff adder has a tell-tale flat head with a straight line between the eyes, a thick body with chevron markings,…