Aparallactus capensis (Black-headed centipede-eater,
(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 Black-headed centipede eater can be identified by its
distinctive black head and collar, its small thin body and strictly nocturnal
lifestyle. It grows to an average length of 30 cm and a maximum length of 40 cm.
Distribution and habitat
Found throughout the eastern half of South
Africa (as well as throughout Lesotho and Swaziland), it is also present in
southern and central Mozambique, Zimbabwe and eastern Botswana. It favours the
following habitats: moist savanna, lowland forest and grassland where it is
typically found in termite mounds.
Exclusively eats centipedes.
Predators, parasites and disease
Eaten by other snakes (including garter snakes and stiletto
snakes), spiders, scorpions and centipedes (very rarely).
Oviparous (egg-laying), lays between 2 and 4 eggs in
Has an average life span of 20 years.
Although venomous, it is not thought to be dangerous to man and
due to the small size of its teeth it is unable to pierce the skin when biting.
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.