Snakes of South Africa Identification

Identifying snakes can be tricky, there are many characteristics you must look at to properly identify snakes of South Africa. We’ve complied a list of characteristics that will help you identify snakes of South Africa. First,body structure can vary considerably between species and make for a safe and fast way to identify potential dangerous snake such as the puff adder(Bitis arietans); shapes can include long and slender, short and squat, robust, cylindrical or triangular.

The shape and size of the snakes head can also help identify the snake, you want to decipher if the head is wider than the neck. The size/length of the snakes are usually expressed in cm or meters for commonality. A snakes colour can vary depending on the location, when they last shed, depending on their age and even their sex. Different species of snakes have different types of scales, snakes of South Africa can have smooth or keeled scales, dorsal scale rows, head scales, ventrals, or subcaudals. The availability of food, water, shelter, existing vegetation and climatic conditions will effect which snakes are in your area. Snakes like to seek out hiding spots for both protection and prey. Snakes have different habits such as the time of day they are active, what is their food source, or if they are arboreal etc.

If you are having difficulty identifying the snakes the best action is to leave the snake alone. Don’t subject yourself to any interactions with a snake you can’t identify. Should you need to contact a professional keep a close eye on the snake, and try to note any of the characteristics mentioned above to better to prepare the experienced snake handler. Do not try to pick up the snake unless you’ve had a venomous snake handling course.