Psammophis mossambicus (Olive whip snake, Olive grass snake)

Olyfsweepslang [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: Psammophinae > Genus: Psammophis


The Olive whip snake can be identified by its large size, speckled upper lip, stripes down its length, its highly aggressive nature and a strictly diurnal lifestyle. It grows to an average length of 1 meter and a maximum length of 1.8 meters.

Distribution and habitat

Found in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. Its favoured habitats are moist savanna and lowland forest where it is often found in marshes.


Eats other snakes (including black mambas and puff adders) but also eats rodents, lizards and frogs.

Predators, parasites and disease

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


Oviparous (egg-laying), lays between 10 and 30 eggs in summer.


Likely to have an average lifespan of 10 years.

Medical importance

Although venomous is not dangerous to man but cause pain, swelling and nausea.



  • 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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