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Spotted Bush Snake @ Tembe Elephant Park. Photo: Håvard Rosenlund

Spotted Bush Snake

Spotted Bush Snake - Philothamnus semivariegatus - Distribution MapThe spotted bush snake, or variegated bush snake (Philothamnus semivariegatus), is a very common species of non-venomous colubrid snake widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. It reaches an average length between 60-90 cm (2-3 ft). Some specimens may reach up to 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in). It is closely related to many of the other non-venomous green snakes in Africa. It is distinguished from the other species by being heavily speckled with black spots above. Color varies from bright green to olive-green. The spotted pattern on the back of the snake usually extends halfway to two-thirds down towards the tail.

Diet and habitat

The spotted bush snake can be found in many different habitats. It often prefers to live close to water, and river banks and moist savannahs are typical habitats. It is also common in shrubs, lowland forests, as well as urban areas. It can sometimes be found in drier areas, such as rocky regions in semi-desert landscapes. It is mainly active during the day. The diet consists predominantly of small lizards, such as geckos and chameleons, and frogs. It is a superb climber and have no problems climbing up vertical surfaces when looking for prey. In some areas it hunts geckos inside houses where it hides inside cracks and roofs.

Reproduction

The spotted bush snake lays 3-12 eggs in the height of summer. The young are 23-30 cm (9-12 in) when hatched. It can probably live to be around 10 years old.

Status

The spotted bush snake is a harmless snake but often confused with other dangerous snakes, such as the green mamba and the boomslang. Because of this it is often persecuted and killed by locals who do not know how to tell it from the more dangerous snakes. It is still very common and it is not believed to be under any threats. It is not yet listed on the IUCN Red List,

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