Macrelaps microlepidotus (Natal black snake)

Natalse swartslang [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


The Natal Black snake can be identified by the following features and behavior; its muscular body structure, eyes with round pupils, a uniform black colour and slow purposeful movements. This snake grows to an average length of 90 cm but may reach up to 1.2 meters in length.

Distribution and habitat

Only found on the KwaZulu-Natal East Coast. Its Favored habitat is lowland forest and Coastal bush (its also often found in urban gardens).


Feeds on frogs (particularly rain frogs), lizards, rodents (e.g. rats and mice) and other snakes.

Predators, parasites and disease

Fed on by other snakes.


Oviparous (egg laying), lays between 3 and 10 eggs in summer.


Most likely has an average lifespan of 10 years.

Medical importance

The effects of this snake's venom are unknown but have caused at least one person to lose consciousness, no antivenom is required and none has been produced.



  • 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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