Rhamphiophis rostratus (Rufous beaked snake)

Haakneusslang [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

Rufous beaked snake crossing road, Kruger National Park. [photo Lorinda Steenkamp ]


The Rufous beaked snake can be identified by its hooked snout, large eyes, a dark stripe on either side of the head and its peculiar habit of jerking its head from side to side.

Distribution and habitat

Found in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, southern Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Its favoured habitat is moist savanna. It grows to an average length of 1.2 meters and a maximum length of 1.6 meters.


Eats rodents (e.g. rats and mice), lizards, small snakes, frogs, birds and insects.

Predators, parasites and disease

Eaten by other snakes (particularly vine snakes), birds of prey (particularly secretary birds and snake eagles).


Oviparous (egg-laying), usually lays between 7 and 18 eggs in summer.


Likely to have an average lifespan of 10 years.

Medical importance

Although venomous is not dangerous to man.


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  • 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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