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Snake: Mole

Find, identify & discuss the marine species of SANParks
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Snakes: Dwarf Beaked Snake

Unread post by kreestar » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:07 pm

hoping that one of the resident herpetologists can help identify the snake in the pic below...


found by a geocacher in a nature reserve in the western cape.

15cm long and looking for an ID.

thanks! :D

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Unread post by Robyn » Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:44 am

Hi everyone,

I live in Midrand and we found a small snake in our house yesterday morning :shock: . We live on a big estate in a country area.

The snake is approximately 20cms long and 0.75cm wide. It was a khaki colour with slightly darker "bands" (sort of oval shaped) across it's body. It has a creamy underbelly and greenish-brown eyes. It has quite a pointy nose and when I touched it (initially with the kitchen tongs) it curled itself up but did not strike or open it's mouth at all. It has a black tongue :?:

We found a small hole next to our house (slightly wider than a R5 coin in diameter) and we placed the snake near the hole. It smelled the air a bit (with its tongue) and moved forward. I touched it's tail and it shot into the hole like lightning and disappeared :P

We are not worried about the snake (in fact, we're happy to have it around) but we are interested to know what it is. I don't think it is dangerous but if it is, we'll have to have it removed (we have many small animals including cats and birds) :roll:

Any help would be appreciated. I have a picture on my phone and can MMS it to anyone who could help me.




Unread post by Jumbo » Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:31 am

Hi Robyn

Welcome to the forum. :D
Unfortunately I cannot get MMS messages in our part of the world.
From your description I, as a complete non-expert, think it might have been a juvenile Mole snake. Another snake that may fit that description is the Common Tiger Snake (although not sure about the location)

Hopefully somebody like Pilane will be able to help you. :wink:

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Unread post by Robyn » Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:21 pm

Hi guys,

Jumbo, I think you are quite right about the Mole Snake. I just Googled it and the juveniles look exactly the same as the one that we had in the house :lol:

I looked up some info on them now and they can grow to up to 6 foot apparently :shock: I don't think that at this little guys size, cats would form part of the diet.... so I think we'll be ok with it living next to our garage (great crime deterrent!!!) :P All websites say that they are non-venomous and subsist on a diet or small rodents, resorting to eggs when the pickings are poor. The only contradiction according to what the websites say is that apparently they put up a big fight when hassled (which this one didn't do). Maybe it was very cold from lying on our tiles at 10 a.m?

We'll see if it gets bigger and stays next to our house. Maybe when MUCH bigger we can get Freeme to come and fetch it and release it somewhere safe.

If any of the snake experts find this info to be incorrect, please let me know as I'm going on what the websites tell me :?: If you think it's better that we have it removed now, please let me know.

Thanks very much for the help everyone.


Unread post by Jumbo » Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:59 pm

Hi Robbin

The following I got from “A complete guide to the snakes of South Africa” by Johan Marias:

“A large, powerful constrictor with a pointed snout and a small head very well adapted for its burrowing existence. It spends most of its time underground in search of food. Here it pushes its way through soft sand in search of moles and other rodents. Its prey is usually seized by the head and constricted.”

“The Mole Sake, although not venomous, can be quite vicious when threatened and will hiss and lunge forward with its mouth agape”

But this doesn’t mean all Mole Snakes will always do it. We have had an encounter with a boomslang that was supposed to be shy but forgot to read the book. :roll: We had a Moz spitting cobra that wasn’t suppose to have the habit of standing his ground - ours was lying on the veranda as if it belonged to him. :shock:

The only reason why you should think about relocating the snake is the following: :cry:
“Unfortunately, this useful snake is often mistaken for a cobra or mamba and is usually killed on sight”

Other info on this snake:

“Food and Feeding:
Adults feed on rats, moles, gerbils and other small land mammals. Birds and nestlings are taken, as are eggs, which are swallowed whole. Juveniles feed largely on lizards”

“Danger to man:
Not considered harmful, but large adults may inflict a painful bite”

It would however still be nice to get more info on this snake from people like Pilane :wink:

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Unread post by katydownunder » Sun Apr 09, 2006 2:36 pm


Pseudaspis cana

A solidly built snake, with its cylindrical body covered with smooth (exceptionally obtusely keeled in part), shiny scales, which bear apical pits and are in 25 to 31 (usually 27) rows at midbody.
Head proportionately rather small and not distinct from the body; the snout is prominent, somewhat pointed, slightly hooked in profile and with sides more or less vertical or even slightly concave; eye moderate to small and with a round pupil; ventrals 175 to 212; anal divided; subcaudals 43 to 70 (i.e. 58 or more in males and 57 or less in females).
In adults colour usually uniform and varying from light grey to yellowish brown, brick red, dark brown or even black (particularly in the drier western parts of the country), though scales are often black-tipped in pale specimens; underparts yellowish, with a varying degree of darker infuscation.
Young specimens differ considerably in colour from adults and, as a result, are often mistaken for quite different species; they are marked as follows:
Usually light brown to old rose above, with four longitudinal series of dark brown to black, pale-edged spots or blotches, which sometimes fuse to form irregular transverse bands or zig-zag longitudinal streaks over middle of back; underparts uniformly yellow, or infused with greyish to purplish brown mesially.
Known to attain a maximum length of just over 2m (especially in western Cape), but average length is usually about 180cm; tail is moderately long, its length being contained in total length 41/3 to 6 times in males and 6 to 71/2 times in females.

Distribution: Throughout Southern-Africa, and northwards into Angola, Congo and Kenya.

Remarks: This ubiquitous snake is probably one of the best known species in Southern Africa and the most useful in control of harmful rodents, which form its staple diet.
As their name implies, they are also fond of moles, including the golden-, bles-, and dune-moles, which they can catch in their burrows.
Like many other non-venomous snakes they put up a great show of ferocity when molested, but very soon quieten down and make the most amenable pets.
Unlike most of the other Colubrids, they are viviparous and give birth to an average of 30 to 50 young at a time.
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Unread post by Jumbo » Thu Apr 27, 2006 3:19 pm

Saw this lighter version near Nossob last year.


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Unread post by Grim Reaper » Mon Feb 05, 2007 12:07 pm

And a very young, new born speciamen. (From Windhoek, Nam.)
Note, the head not being very distinct from the rest of the body at all!


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Unread post by Caracal » Tue Mar 25, 2008 4:01 pm

Another KTP snake ID please...
Can anybody Id this snake for me. I may have already asked for an ID on this snake biut i cannot find the thread nor can I remember if anybody supplied me an answer...I aplologise if this is a repeat...


Not a very good photo I am afraid one cannot even see his head....please help!

Next I correct in presuming that this is a mole snake ??

snake also seen in KTP
Thanks for help!
Last edited by Elsa on Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: pic resized.

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Unread post by Agama » Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:46 pm

First one, Mole snake (Juvenile pattern). Some keep the pattern into adulthood. The other one correctly identified. Sincerely, Agama

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Re: Identification help: Snakes

Unread post by TomV » Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:26 pm

hello everyone,

we found the following two snakes in the northern KTP in July 08.

The first one we saw near the unions end pick nick site and was about 1,5 to 2 m long and roughly 4 fingers thick :



The second one we saw a bit more south near the Grootkolk turnoff and was about 1 m long and rougly 2 to 3 fingers thick :


We're guessing they might be mole snakes but seeing we don't know much about snakes at all we were wondering if someone could please confirm this or pass along the correct name?

my website: (finally got KTP & KNP 08 online, KTP 09 & 10 coming online soon)

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Re: Identification help: Snakes

Unread post by wildtuinman » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:22 pm

Agree with mole snake.
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Re: Identification help: Snakes

Unread post by UNeedham » Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:25 pm


Found this one in our garden, and this is the best photo we could get...I'm thinking it's just a mole snake :cam:

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Re: Identification help: Snakes

Unread post by Rusty Justy » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:00 pm

Looks like a Mole Snake to me 2 :D
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Identification help: Snakes

Unread post by Scuba Steve » Sat Oct 10, 2009 12:02 am

This one i have no idea. It is about 30cm long.

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