Dipsina multimaculata (Dwarf beaked snake)

Dwerghaakneusslang [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: Colubridae > Subfamily: Boodontinae

Dwarf beaked snake swallowing a Spotted barking Gecko (Ptenopus garrulus maculatus), Libya. [photo M. Soroczynski from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Dwarf beaked snake [photo A. van Wyk from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Dwarf beaked snake, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. [photo Lorinda Steenkamp ]


The Dwarf beaked snake may be identified by its hooked snout, large eyes, a threat display similar to the horned adder, a dull brown colouration interspersed with dark blotches and v-shaped marking on the head. It grows to an average length of35 cm but may reach 50 cm in length.

Distribution and habitat

This snake species distribution includes the Namibian coast line, southern Namibia, the Northern Cape, Western Cape and parts of the Eastern Cape an North West province. Its favoured habitat is the Namib desert but also includes karoo scrub and arid savanna.


Its diet consists almost exclusively of lizards.

Predators, parasites and disease

Eaten by other snakes, birds of prey (particularly secretary birds and snake eagles) and small carnivorous mammals (e.g. mongooses).


Oviparous (egg-laying), lays between 2 and 4 eggs in midsummer.


The lifespan of this snake is likely to be between 10 and 15 years.

Medical importance

Has a mild venom that has almost no effect on 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.


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