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Psammophylax rhombeatus (Spotted skaapsteker, Rhombic skaapsteker, Spotted grass snake)

Gevlekte skaapsteker [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: Psammophylax

Psammophylax rhombeatus (Spotted skaapsteker, Rhombic skaapsteker, Spotted grass snake), Western Cape [J.C Els , from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Psammophylax rhombeatus (Spotted skaapsteker, Rhombic skaapsteker, Spotted grass snake), Western Cape [A. Rebelo , from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Psammophylax rhombeatus (Spotted skaapsteker, Rhombic skaapsteker, Spotted grass snake), Western Cape [C. Dorse and S. van Rooyen , from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Psammophylax rhombeatus (Spotted skaapsteker, Rhombic skaapsteker, Spotted grass snake), Western Cape [E.R. Le Roux , from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Identification

The Spotted skaapsteker is identified by its large eyes (with round pupils), its nervous movements and its strictly diurnal lifestyle. It grows to an average length of 85 cm but may reach up to 1.4 meters in length.

Distribution and habitat

Found in the following areas; the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo ( there is also a small Northern Cape population as well 3 populations in Namibia). Its favoured habitats are fynbos, grassland and moist savanna.

Food

Feeds on rodents (e.g. rats and mice), lizards, birds, frogs and other snakes.

Predators, parasites and disease

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

Reproduction

Oviparous (egg laying), lays between 8 and 30 eggs in summer (the skaapsteker is also know to coil around its eggs).

Longevity

Uncertain it is likely that this snakes average lifespan is 10 years or more.

Medical importance

The venom of this snake poses no threat to man.

Links

References

  • 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.