Lamprophis fuscus (Yellow-bellied house snake)

Geelpenshuisslang [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 > Genus: Lamprophis

Lamprophis fuscus (Yellow-bellied house snake), Western Cape [M. Witberg and R. van Zyl , from SARCA Virtual Museum]


The Yellow-bellied house snake can be identified by olive green or brown colour, yellow underside and bottom lip and its strictly nocturnal lifestyle. It grows to an average length of 50 cm but may reach up to 75 cm.

Distribution and habitat

The distribution of this snake is restricted to 7 small patches in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. Its preferred habitat is arid savanna and grasslands.


Feeds mostly on lizards but also rodents (particularly shrews).

Predators, parasites and disease

Eaten by other snakes.


Oviparous (egg-laying), lays a small number of eggs in summer.


Has been known to live for 20 years in captivity

Medical importance

Non-venomous and not dangerous to man and not likely to bite.



  • 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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