Lamprophis swazicus (Swazi rock snake)

Swazirotsslang [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 swazicus (Swazi rock snake), Mpumalanga [ T. Mol from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Lamprophis swazicus (Swazi rock snake), Mpumalanga [ T. Mol from SARCA Virtual Museum]



The Swazi rock snake can be identified by its uniform red or brown colour, its prominent eyes, a thin body, a good tree climbing ability and a strictly nocturnal lifestyle. It grows to an average length of 60 cm but may reach 90 cm.

Distribution and habitat

The distribution of this snake is restricted to a narrow band that follows South Africa's north eastern border from Swaziland to Botswana. It is restricted to moist savanna habitat throughout its distribution.


Feeds on small lizards (particularly geckos and skinks) and small birds.

Predators, parasites and disease

This snake species is 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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