Homoroselaps lacteus (Spotted harlequin snake)

Gevlekte kousbandjie [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: Elapidae > Genus: Homoroselaps

Homoroselaps lacteus (Spotted Harlequin snake), Western Cape   [C. Dorse & S. Van Rooyen from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Homoroselaps lacteus (Spotted Harlequin snake), Western Cape [C. Dorse & S. Van Rooyen from SARCA Virtual Museum]


The Spotted Harlequin snake can be identified by its bright colouration, a colourful stripe or streak that runs the length of its body and its preference for inhabiting termite mounds. This snake grows to an average length of 40 cm but has been known to reach 65 cm in length.  

Distribution and habitat

Found all along South Africa's East coast but is also found in the Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and in Limpopo. This snake favours the following habitats; fynbos, lowland forest, moist savanna and grasslands.


Feeds on lizards (particularly legless skinks) and other snakes (particularly blind snakes).

Predators, parasites and disease

Fed on by other snakes.


Oviparous (egg laying), lays between 6 and 9 eggs in summer (it has been know lay up to 16 on rare occasions).


It is likely that this snake has an average of 10 years.

Medical importance

The venom of this snake while non lethal can cause swelling and severe headaches. No antivenom is required for this snakes venom.



  • 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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