Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia (Red-lipped snake, Herald snake)

Rooilipslang [Afrikaans]; Phimpi [Ndebele]

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: Colubridae > Subfamily: Colubrinae > Genus: Crotaphopeltis

Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia (Red-lipped snake, Herald snake), Gauteng. [D. Koen , from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia (Red-lipped snake, Herald snake), Western Cape. [A. Rebelo , from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia (Red-lipped snake, Herald snake), Western Cape. [R.W. Leslie , from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia (Red-lipped snake, Herald snake), Eastern Cape. [D. Stuart-Fox and A. Moussalli , from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia (Red-lipped snake, Herald snake), Gauteng. [R. Marais , from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Identification

This snake species can be identified by its olive green or grey body, multiple white speckles, its distinctive black head and red, yellow, white or black upper lip. It grows to an average length of 70 cm but may reach up to 1 meter in length.

Distribution and habitat

The Herald snake is widespread and is present throughout South Africa (except for the Karoo and Northern Cape), It is also present throughout Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Southern and Central Mozambique and Northern Botswana. It favoured habitats are marshy areas in lowland forest, moist savanna, grasslands and fynbos.  

Food

Feeds on amphibians (including rain frogs), lizards and other snakes (only in captivity).

Predators, parasites and disease

Fed on by other snakes.  Spiders in the genus Latrodectus (widows and buttonspiders) have been recorded as natural enemies.

Reproduction

Oviparous (egg laying), lays between 6 and 19 eggs in early summer.

Longevity

Has been known to live for between 10 and 15 years.

Medical importance

This snake's venom has only minor effects and is not dangerous at all. No antivenom is required.

Links

References

  • 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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