Atractaspis congica (Eastern Congo Stiletto snake,
Oos-Kongolese 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 Eastern Congo 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 45 cm and a maximum length of 55 cm.
Distribution and habitat
Restricted to a small portion of the Caprivi
strip. Its favoured habitat is moist savanna.
Eats lizards and other snakes.
Predators, parasites and disease
Eaten by other snakes.
Oviparous (egg-laying), lays between 3 and 6 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.