Have you seen a snake in the Western Cape? Need help with an identification? Share your snake sightings here!
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Getting the ball rolling with a Cape cobra
L – Aurora House Snake captured in the surrounding area and released back onto Rondebosch Common (June 2012).
R – A decent sized Mole Snake found on Rondebosch Common (June 2012).
Well done on releasing these snakes successfully Vard. The aurora has an interesting colouration. Was the dorsal stripe present; can’t make it out in the photograph.
Yeah, the photo is not the best. It did have the normal orange/yellow dorsal stripe. It had quite a few battle scars too, including missing the tip of its tail.
A Puff Adder (70cm long male) rescued from a Newlands garden on 12 October and released later in TMNP above Newlands Forest.
Look at this beauty! Possibly Asian Cobra. I found it on the green belt near my house yesterday at 7.30am, she was lying in the grass, in the open field, enjoying the sun. Her head was completely up but didn’t have the camera on me at the time. I went back twice and took some photos but she was lying down then… Any idea what type of snake it is????
Welcome Maggie! Well this is certainly not a snake I would have expected to see here. I’m not too familiar with the asiatic cobras but I’m inclined to go with Naja siamensis, the Indo-Chinese spitting cobra.
If you see it again, please call me straight away as this snake shouldn’t be moving around like this as they are certainly not found here!
it’s a rubber snake you morons
plastic snakes don’t move their heads up and down
Honest mistake Maggie. Gary, please refrain from slander on this site. Not everyone has experience with snakes.
There has been some feedback regarding this sighting; questions on why the post was not deleted. However, I don’t believe that instances such as these should swept under the carpet, snake mis-identification is common, experience is our greatest teacher.
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Juvenile mole snake, Psuedaspis cana
Don’t you just love the colouration and patterning of these youngsters?
I recently rescued this gorgeous boomslang from an electric fence, unfortunatly the internal injuries were just to severe and it was dead two hours later!
Hi Mark. Thank for sharing this! What a beautiful snake with an exceptional photograph to boot! It’s a real pity that you weren’t able to save this snake. I have heard of the damage that electric fences can do but I’ve never witnessed it first hand.
Was the snake ‘stuck’ on the fence when you captured it?
It was stuck, even after the power was turned off, I think its muscles were so tensed up that it couldnt move the section between where the wires made contact with the snake. I am assuming that the organs and muscles in this section were fried beyond repair.
Someone was trying to sell this little guy to a petshop in Somerset West, they conviscated it and called the nature reserve. Must be a very young puffy, I know this is not evident in the photo (no size reference, sorry) but its by far the smallest that I have ever seen, and I have seen quite a few!
Look at that little guy! It’s beautiful!! Somerset West really is puffie heaven. What would you estimate the length at?
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beautiful little slug eater
Great! Any pics?
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Blocked off traffic to let this little fella cross the road 2 days ago. Turn off to Suikerbossie at the top of the hill before llandudno. Baby Puff Adder
Awesome! Well done Pierre!! This little guy looks way out of his comfort zone ;/ Stocky little fella isn’t he? Good thing you were there and conscientious enough to take action.
Suikerbossie has had its fair share of puffies this season, the chefs did the relocations though.. South Coast boys, go figure.
The chefs? Should be plenty more to come, especially around autumn time…
oh happy dayz.
Check out the mole inside this snake!
Yum!! Looks like a happy snake.
Puff Adder! Probably just after lunch…looked a bit lazy and fat to me!
Nice big male puffy!! Not sure if it had actually eaten, possibly on the hunt. This snake doesn’t look like it has had any shortage of food though, its a fatty!!
How do you see if its male or female?
Not easy in most snakes but in the adders, especially this species, its in the length of the tail taken from the cloaca. Short and stubby = female. Long and tapered = male
Boomslang seen while mountain biking in tokai, photos is poor quality due to the guys speed
It’s a boomslang alright. An a fairly decent sized one at that. The name is misleading; they are experts climbers but are regular seen on the ground as well. Where did this one shoot off to?
It disappeared very rapidly into the forest off the jeep track and went under a log for safety
Brown water snake, caught while toading earlier in the year. Got to some education with the younger kids helping with the toading
I love these placid little snakes. How did the children take to it? Were they afraid?
actually no, they were rather excited and very curious, all of them were wanting to touch it or hold it and after a few minutes I noticed the snake was getting a little stressed so I ended the lesson and let it go.
Excellent stuff. Finding a snake is always an excellent opportunity to educate.
i know they are not snakes, but still awesome to see two reptiles both endemic to the fynbos region enjoying each others company
Not sure if enjoy is the right word – compete maybe. You’ve got two different species there
This stunning cobra crossed my path today. Beautiful animal.
What a stunner!! We got a mole snake today that was very close in colour. Thanks for sharing!
A Mole Snake from Tokai (caught 26 Nov and released the next day). About 140cm, although part of its tail was missing. This was a really docile snake (which seems to be the exception among Mole Snakes this season so far).
This Mole Snake was from Grassy Park, and quite a grumpy snake too – lots of hissing and striking. Also about 140cm – a really nice one this!
Mole snakes galore this season.
Hi,can someone please confirm what kind of snake this is? My guess was an olive snake, but not sure?
Hi Tania. Welcome! I am trying to sort out the kinks on the new gallery I’ve installed so that the details you entered will be displayed. One can comment by liking the image through facebook.
The image is of a mole snake. Was it ok?
Hi Grant, Thanks for the speedy response. Unfortunately he wasn’t ok, he was completely still and his tongue was partly out on the left side. He didn’t look like he was hit by a car, so not sure what couldn’ve happened to him. Lots of hawks and other big birds of prey around that area.
Perhaps the pied crows got to it. Pity but they are prey too. Beautiful snake. Thanks for sharing
He definately was a beauty! He was found on the farm road as we were leaving Darling. We see quite alot of snakes on the R27 some DOR or ones trying to cross. We always very careful when driving that stretch of road.
Oh yes, that road is notorious for dead snakes, especially mole snakes. I’m sure you’ll see more, then at least you can post them here
small puffie caught and release
Cape Cobra being released…. well, photographed first and then released.
Roughly 1.6 m I think we had it at? Hoping to find this snake again happy in its new home.
Another Mole Snake. This one has a much lighter (adult) colouration than most of the others found so far this season.
It’s a real beauty!!
can anyone ID the Houtbay roadkill snake above?
Hi Gavin, it’s a crossed/ cross marked whip snake, Psammophis crucifer
Apologies Gavin, I had originally posted the identification in the comments section of the gallery itself but there were some issues. The gallery has now been updated and you should be able to post and share comments with every individual image in the gallery.
Keep well, Grant
Never heard of that
very rare.. but your pic looks like a tipe of quill just not sure witch one
It’s def a crossed whip snake – Psammophis crucifer. No quill snakes in SA. Scientific name might help me know what you mean.
An Olive House Snake (Lycodonomorphus inornatus), removed from the inside of a wall behind a bathtub in a house in Retreat, so a few “renovations” were involved (which were fortunately scheduled to happen anyway). Released in Tokai NP.
Getting into the home improvement business are we Vard?
A Flowerpot Snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus)
Now that’s not a snake that you see everyday…
A Mole Snake from Newlands on a property next to the mountain near Kirstenbosch. It provided a perfect opportunity to educate, and it proved successful!
Excellent stuff. Beautiful snake!
Today when I got home from work I saw a snake on the front lawn, it looked like a cobra and it raised its head and spread its neck. IT had a black head, until where the spreading stops and then it was grey. It was about 300 to 400 mm long. I have seen young cobras before but never this colour before. I live in Vioolsdrift on the Namibian border. The snake disapeared before I could take a picture of it. Is it a cape cobra or what else could it be.
Hi Roger. Apologies for the delayed reply.The only other cobra in your area is the black spitting cobra but as the name suggests these are all black. Juvenile cape cobras often have a thick black throat band on the neck like in the image below. It is not always as prominent as this but perhaps this is what you saw?
Thanks for the reply Grant, the body colour was more like the grey in the background and the head was much darker than the one in the photo. I did keep snakes as pets in the early 1970’s when I lived in Natal, kept house snakes, red lipped heralds, night adders, brown water snakes and such like. I always try to move the snakes I see up here away from where they are seen to safer places where the workers do not kill them and also try to educate them into not killing them, which sometimes helps. I see they talk about a Namibian cobra that is greyish in colour. Am i wrong?
I think I’ve found your snake! Although I’ve yet to see this myself – in “Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa” by Bill Branch, he states that juvenile black spitting cobras are grey with black head and neck. As the size you describe is juvenile length and that the species is within range it is likely to be that. If the head and neck was totally black then it could not be a Cape cobra. These are the only two true cobras that occur in your area so that must be it. Solved!
Thanks Grant, I will see if I can see it or another one that is the same and post a photo.
On 4 May 13at 2.30pm we were walking along the Pipe track above Camps Bay about 2 kms from Kloof Neck – my husband in front and me behind him, when he suddenly yelled out ”snake!” and backpedalled. It was a Cape Cobra standing in the path and rearing its head as my husband came to about 2m from him. We turned around and started running, and when I looked back whilst running, it was chasing us down the path! We ran probably about 10 m and it was definitely coming down the path behind us very fast. It then vanished. Is this mock-charge natural behaviour? Are they not shy? Stephanie
Hi Stephanie. Great weather last weekend for a walk, for you and the Cape cobras!
Snakes sometimes seem like they are chasing people but are really doing the same thing that you are – fleeing for their lives! Once encountered it would have been just as startled as you and your husband were. It then head off in the direction it was previously going as quickly as it could looking for somewhere to escape, which it finally did.
What I’ve found is that if you had run at a 90 degree angle to the path (not possible here I know) then you would probably find that the snake would have kept heading in the same direction. It was not thinking about coming after you but to get to safety as quickly as possible. Why would it? Taking on two much larger animals is a sure way to get yourself killed even if you do get a bite in. Not much point in that
Thanks for the account, wish I was there!
We found a Pyhton over 3m meters long in Somerset West. is that common in this area?
Hi Marion. Thanks for the call. As we discussed, the snake was in all likelihood an escapee. Someone’s pet from nearby. We do not get naturally occurring pythons in the Cape.
Hi Grant, I spoke to you back in spring about two possible slug eaters on our new property. I have unfortunately not been able to get a pic but I am want to rule out any chance of them not being harmless to our pets and kids. Can you come identify for us? There were two, only one seen on Christmas eve last…very big, brown with yellowish belly. We also have a Western Leopard toad and don’t want that eaten!
Hi Maya. If it’s big then it’s not a slug eater. They only get to about 30cm. The only large snakes we get that fit your description are The Cape cobra and the female boomslang.
If you see it again, the best thing to do is to call one of us while keeping an eye on it. http://www.capesnakeconservation.com/snake-removal/
How big is big?
Not sure you got my reply via mobile…it’s 1.2m! So will let you know as soon as we see it again.
Definitely not a slug eater!! :))
We own a guesthouse in the middle of the vineyards around Stellenbosch and this week we had 4 sightings of a snake in the garden. Could you pls help identify it. As our overseas guests are most problaby less amused by the sighting of it. We first found a juvenile one. Later I saw the same one, slender but more like 75 cm long, light brown/ green of color with dark head. Yesterday my husband saw 2 of these. The adults we saw moving around at night, round 22h30.
Hi Anouk – it’s very difficult to give a positive ID without a photograph. If I possible please try to get one next time and I’ll be able to help you.
Hello everyone! Could you please help identify this snake? Seen in January 2015 in Kirstenbosch botanical garden.