A large, slow-moving viper, they are responsible for a significant number of snake-bites accidents in Africa. It is not aggressive, but relies heavily on its camouflage, so it is easily overlooked by humans and can inadvertently be trodden upon. It strikes quickly, and its long fangs penetrate deeply. Its potent venom is produced in huge quantities. Although this snake kills many people in rural areas, death is usually preventable if suitable medical treatment is available.
This is a much feared snake, although bites are rare. It lurks among dead leaves in dappled light, its outline disguised by the geometric pattern of rectangles and triangles along its body. It hardly moves, preferring to wait for its pray to come withing range, then it strikes with great speed, injecting venom with fangs that can be up to 4cm long. They are found in West and Central Africa. Mostly St Lucia in Kwazulu-Natal.
The copper head viper is found in the eastern parts of North America. They are of a smaller size not growing larger than 1 meter in length. Copper heads have a mild Hemotoxic venom that affects the blood of its prey. Luckily for humans the bite is often non lethal and the rare deaths that have occurred have been in the very young, very old and those who have compromised immune systems. This is good news considering that the copper head is responsible for more bites in humans than any other venomous snake in the U.S. The copper head mostly preys on small rodents, lizards and amphibians found in their damp Habitats.
The Boomslang hunts chameleons, birds, and other small animals during the day, using camouflage and stealthy approach to get within striking distance and then snatching its prey in a sudden rush. It kills with venom delivered through fangs that are situated below the eyes and is one of the few colubrids that can kill humans, although it only bites when cornered. They are found in South Africa.
Commonly found near villages, and even cities, the Burmese Python performs a useful function by eating rats and other vermin. Unfortunately, it is not always welcome because it also takes chickens and other domestic animals. All pythons coil around the eggs, but the Burmese Python is able to raise its body temperature by a process that in not yet fully understood.
One of the most venomous snakes in Africa with a powerful quick acting neurotoxin, the black mamba has a reputation that no other snake can match. Although extremely dangerous the Black Mamba is, in fact, a nervous and shy snake.
Thought to be the world’s longest snake, the Reticulated Python is an inhabitant of the steamy tropical rain-forest of South-east Asia. it leads a secretive life, well camouflaged among forest vegetation. Occasionally it strays into villages and the outskirts of large towns, probably attracted by potential prey in the form of rats and domestic animals. it is one of the only handful of snakes they are known to have eaten humans, although cases are exceptionally rare.
African Rock Python
They are most active at night, though very fond of basking – especially after a large meal. It ambushes its prey, latches on with its powerful re-curved teeth and constricts it. Pythons are extremely valuable as they control rodent populations, especially rock hyrax (dassies) and cane rats. Pythons have been known to kill people in the past but today large individuals are very rare. Because of the python’s size and the fact that it has numerous strong re-curved teeth, a bite may cause a fair amount of tissue damage and the victim may even need stitches.
They are probably amongst the most widely known snake species, the boa constrictor, as it is popularly known, is a magnificent predator from the jungle of Central and south America that has adapted itself to a wide range of different habitats and lifestyles. It has few enemies once it reaches its adult length of 3 meters or more. Although the Boa is usually found in rain-forests, it also occurs in drier environments in Mexico and on the grasslands of northern Argentina. It lives in trees or on the ground, but becomes increasingly terrestrial as it gets larger.
They are one of Africa’s largest cobras, it often occupies a permanent home in a termite mound where it will reside for years in not disturbed. It is active at night, foraging for food from dusk onwards, often venturing into poultry runs. It is not an aggressive snake but will assume a formidable posture in cornered. They have a neurotoxic venom that affects breathing and in untreated cases may cause respiratory failure and death.
This is a large cobra normally associated with closed canopy coastal forest in northern Kwazulu-Natal (RSA). It is active and alert, climbs well and is equally at home on land and in water. Though primarily active at night, it likes to bask in the sun and forages for food on overcast days. They are potently neurotoxic but because of this snake’s restricted distribution and shy nature, bites are virtually unheard of in South Africa.