Western Cape Snakes

Snakes of the Western Cape include the aurora house snake

Aurora house snake

To date there 42 recorded Western Cape snake species. Of these 42 Western Cape snakes, one – commonly known as the flowerpot snake –  has been introduced and another is a rarely encountered, yet highly venomous, marine serpent commonly known as the yellow-bellied sea snake.

Of these 42 species 18 are non-venomous, 14 are mildly venomous, four are considered dangerous and posses venom which has the potential to be life threatening while six are considered deadly or very dangerous.

The table below lists the known species recorded in the Western Cape alphabetically by genus. Further descriptions and images of each snake can be found (in progress) on the relevant pages on this site. Venomous (including dangerous and very dangerous) species can be found here. Other species will be updated periodically as time allows.

If you would like to contribute to the list of Western Cape snakes with images or species descriptions please feel free to contact me via email by clicking here.

Amplorhinus multimaculatus Many-spotted snake
Aspidelaps lubricus lubricus Coral snake
Bitis arietans arietans Puff adder
Bitis armata Southern adder
Bitis atropos Berg adder
Bitis caudalis Horned adder
Bitis cornuta Many-horned adder
Bitis rubida Red adder
Bitis schneideri Namaqua dwarf adder
Boaedon capensis Cape house snake
Causus rhombeatus Common night adder
Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia Herald snake
Dasypeltis scabra Common egg eater
Dipsina multimaculata Dwarf beaked snake
Dispholidus typus typus Boomslang
Duberria lutrix lutrix Common slug eater
Hemachatus haemachatus Rinkhals
Homoroselaps lacteus Spotted harlequin snake
Lamprophis aurora Aurora house snake
Lamprophis fiskii Fisk’s house snake
Lamprophis fuscus Yellow-bellied house snake
Lamprophis guttatus Spotted house snake
Leptotyphlops gracilior Slender thread snake
Leptotyphlops nigricans Black thread snake
Lycodonomorphus inornatus Olive snake
Lycodonomorphus rufulus Common brown water snake
Lycophidion capense capense Cape wolf snake
Naja nigricincta woodi Black spitting cobra
Naja nivea Cape cobra
Pelamis platurus Yellow-bellied sea snake (Pelagic)
Philothamnus hoplogaster Green water snake
Philothamnus natalensis occidentalis Eastern green snake
Prosymna sundevallii sundevallii Southern shovel-snout snake
Psammophis crucifer Cross-marked grass snake
Psammophis leightoni leightoni Cape sand snake
Psammophis leightoni namibensis Namib sand snake
Psammophis notostictus Karoo whip snake
Psammophylax rhombeatus rhombeatus Rhombic skaapsteker
Pseudaspis cana Mole snake
Ramphotyphlops braminus Flowerpot snake (Exotic)
Rhinotyphlops lalandei Delalande’s blind snake
Telescopus beetzii Namib tiger snake


  • mandy

    just found what I think is a cape sand snake in garden…..freaked out ! are they venomous and could I expect siblings ?

    • http://www.capesnakeconservation.com/ grantsmith

      They do posses a mild venom, but it’s nothing to worry about i.e. it’s not medically significant. Snakes are solitary animals – unless the mother has just dropped a clutch you won’t generally find others too close by. Have you got a picture by any chance?

      • mandy

        Thanks so much. Too freaked to take picture. He slithered away but I will keep an eye out. Thanks for info

        • http://www.capesnakeconservation.com/ grantsmith

          Anytime :)

  • Paul du Plessis

    The snake in the picture above is what?
    We have just found a small one of these in our garden in Stellenbosch.
    Want to know if it is the aurora house snake or something else and more importantly is it venomous?
    Look forward to a reply.

    • http://www.capesnakeconservation.com/ grantsmith

      Spot on, non-venomous aurora house snake :)

  • Heather Costaras

    Found your interesting site after my 8 year old saw a snake in our garden here in Misty Cliffs. After watching the videos and looking at the pictures, she thinks that the berg adder seems like the closest match. She ran to call me, but by the time we got to the bush where it was, it had gone. And now I’m trying not to think TOO hard about my kids playing in close proximity to poisonous snakes… but literally, the side of our garden backs on to the mountain side. Eeek!

    • http://www.capesnakeconservation.com/ grantsmith

      Hi Heather

      I wouldn’t be worried at all – your daughter has done all the right things. Left the snake alone, told someone and then tried to learned more about it. Most bites happen when we interfere – it is possible to coexist :)

  • tony rebelo

    dont you link directly to iSpot at http://www.ispot.org.za ? – if you merely
    “show” the iSpot collections via a link then there will be no
    copyright issues.

    The current url for embedding a link is


    but this will change in November 2014 to


    iSpot is a free site if you want to run any further surveys. Merely post
    to iSpot and request users to tag the observation with your tag (e.g. Cape
    Snake Atlas).

    • http://www.capesnakeconservation.com/ grantsmith

      Hi Tony

      That’s a great idea! I see those links point directly to the Cape cobra page – is that correct?

      Should I simply add the link into my sidebar?

      • tony rebelo


        You can do it for any species you want – just
        1. check the link
        2. spaces are %20
        3. subspecies are coded as subsp. and not just trinomials.
        You can either post the link, but it is also possible to post the page inside your page, but I dont know how to code that up.

  • Karen vd vyver

    Found this snake n our kitchen. 20cm long. What is it?

    • http://www.capesnakeconservation.com/ grantsmith

      Hi Karen – it’s an aurora house snake. Totally harmless :)

  • Karen vd vyver

    Thanks Grant. The little guy was set free shortly after sending the post to you
    in our nearby wetlands / greenbelt. Regards