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Psammophis subtaeniatus (Western stripe-bellied sand snake)

Westelike gestreepte sandslang [Afrikaans]; Umhlwazi [Xhosa]

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

Psammophis subtaeniatus with Common Flat lizard (Platysaurus intermedius cf. rhodesianus) that is has captured. [photo Lorinda Steenkamp ]

Psammophis subtaeniatus (Western stripe-bellied sand snake), Kruger National Park, c 0.7 m in length. [photo Jim Scarff ]


The Western stripe-bellied sand snake can be identified by its slender head, large eyes, yellow underside, the stripes down the length of its body and strictly diurnal lifestyle. It grows to an average length of 1 meter and a maximum length of 1.4 meters.

Distribution and habitat

his snake species is found in Namibia, Botswana, Limpopo, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Its favoured habitat is arid savanna where it occurs in mopane veld.


Eats lizards, rodents, birds and frogs.

Predators, parasites and disease

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


Oviparous (egg-laying), lays between 4 and 10 eggs in summer.


Likely to have an average lifespan of 10 years.

Medical importance

Although venomous is not dangerous to man.



  • 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.