Lamprophis capensis (Brown house snake, Common house snake)

Bruinhuisslang, Gewone huisslang [Afrikaans]; Umzingandlu [Zulu]; Inkwakhwa [Xhosa]

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 > Genus: Lamprophis

Brown house snake, Northern Cape. [B. Maritz , from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Brown house snake constricting a Moreau's Tropical House Gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia), KwaZulu-Natal.   [P. Vos , from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Brown house snake, Western Cape. [P. Vos , from SARCA Virtual Museum]




The  Brown house snake can be identified its uniform brown colour, 2 light coloured stripes which extend down the length of the head and its preference for areas habitats close to human dwellings.

Distribution and habitat

This hose snake species is found throughout southern Africa. Its is found in all habitats and is particularly common in residential areas.


Feeds mostly on rodents (e.g. rats and mice), birds, bats, lizards (particularly skinks) and frogs (very rarely).

Predators, parasites and disease

Eaten by other snakes (File snakes and cobras in particular), monitor lizards, spiders (particularly button spiders), birds of prey (particularly owls and snake eagles) and carnivorous mammals (particularly mongooses).


Oviparous (egg-laying), lays between 8 and 18 eggs in summer and has been known to lay more than one batch per season.


Has been known to live for 20 years in captivity.

Medical importance

Non-venomous and not dangerous to man but will bite if threatened.



  • 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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