Xenocalamus bicolour (Bicoloured quill-snouted snake)

Tweekleurspitsneusslang; Tweekleurskerpneusslang [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: Xenocalamus

Xenocalamus bicolour (Bicoloured quill-snouted snake), Northern Cape. [photo D. Maguire ©, from SARCA Virtual Museum]


Xenocalamus bicolour (Bicoloured quill-snouted snake), Free State. [photo D. Maguire ©, from SARCA Virtual Museum]



The Bicoloured Quill-snouted snake can be identified by its quill shaped head, its small eyes, variable colouration and its nocturnal lifestyle. It grows to an average length of 50 cm and a maximum length of 72 cm.

Distribution and habitat

This snakes distribution includes the Free State, North West, Botswana, Namibia and northern Zimbabwe. Its favoured habitat is alluvial sand in moist savanna, arid savanna and karoo scrub.


Eats burrowing skinks and worm lizards.

Predators, parasites and disease

Eaten by other snakes.


Oviparous (egg-laying), lays between 3 and 4 eggs in summer.


Medical importance

Although venomous is no threat 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.


Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Reptiles home   Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search