Atractaspis bibronii (Southern stiletto snake, Bibron's
Suidelike sypikslang [Afrikaans]
(animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia >
Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates) > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) >
Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class:
Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) >
(four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota >
Reptilia (reptiles) >
Romeriida > Diapsida > Lepidosauromorpha > Lepidosauria >
Squamata > Serpentes
(snakes) > Family: Atractaspididae > Genus:
The Southern Stiletto snake can be identified by the
following features; a tail spine, small eyes, a uniform purple or black colour, a
neck arch behind the head, the unique position of its fangs (this makes it
impossible to handle) and its predominately nocturnal lifestyle. It grows to an
average length of 40 cm and a maximum length of 70 cm.
Distribution and habitat
This snake has a wide range that includes; KwaZulu-Natal, North West,
Limpopo, Swaziland, southern and central Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and
north east Namibia. It favours a wide range of habitats ranging from fynbos to
Eats burrowing reptiles,
Predators, parasites and disease
Eaten by other snakes.
Oviparous (egg-laying), lays between 3 and 7 eggs in
The venom of this snake while not lethal is still dangerous
and causes intense pain and swelling and often the loss of fingers. Antivenom is
not effective and should not be used.
Broadley, D.G. 1983. FitzSimons' Snakes of Southern
Africa. Delta Books, Johannesburg.
Marais, J. 2004. A Complete Guide to Snakes of Southern Africa.
Struik Publishing, Cape Town.