Amblyodipsas concolour (Natal purple-glossed snake)

Natalse persglansslang; Natalse purpergrondslang [Afrikaans]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Lepidosauromorpha > Lepidosauria > Squamata > Serpentes (snakes) > Family: Atractaspididae > Genus: Amblyodipsas

Amblyodipsas concolour (Natal purple-glossed snake), Mpumalanga, South Africa. [photo M. Douglas , from SARCA Virtual Museum]


The Natal purple-glossed snake can be identified by its thick body, a blunt head, a purple colouration, small eyes and habit of burrowing beneath the surface. It grows to an average length of 50 cm but may reach up to 85 cm in length.

Distribution and habitat

Found in KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. It is found in a variety of habitats including moist savanna and lowland forest.


Adults eat other snakes and juveniles eat lizards (particularly skinks).

Predators, parasites and disease

Eaten by other snakes.


Uncertain, records differ as to whether it is oviparous (egg-laying) or viviparous (bearing live young).


Has an average life span of 20 years.

Medical importance

Although venomous it is not thought to be dangerous to man.



  • 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.


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