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Eastern Natal Green Snake

(Philothamnus natalensis)

Description

The eastern Natal green snake, or eastern green snake (Philothamnus natalensis), is a non-venomous colubrid snake found along the east coast of northern KwaZulu-Natal and southern Mozambique. It grows to an average length of 90 cm (2 ft 11 in), and some reach up to 130 cm (4 ft 3 in). It is a uniform bright green to turquoise green snake, with a pale green to yellowish belly. Juveniles may have some black markings towards the front. Can be confused with other green snakes in the Philothamnus genus. Especially the western Natal green snake (Philothamnus occidentalis), which often has a turquoise tail and head/neck, and the green water snake (Philothamnus hoplogaster), which sometimes have more prominent markings on the back towards to head and is less often found in trees compared to the eastern Natal green snake.

Diet and habitat

The eastern Natal green snake is found in various habitats, such as lowland forests, savanna and grasslands. It prefers dense vegetation where it can use its colors to blend in with the vegetation. It also tends to stay close to water sources. It is most active during the day and is commonly found in trees. If disturbed on the ground it will quickly climb up the nearest tree to hide among the foliage. It feeds on frogs and geckos, and it is often found in close proximity to houses where it likes to hunt house geckos.

Reproduction

The female typically lays 4-6 eggs, but can lay up to 14 eggs. When hatched the young are around 15 cm (6 in) long. It can live to be 10 years old.

Status

The eastern Natal green snake has a small range along the east coast of southern Africa, but it is very common and does well in close proximity to humans. Can be targeted and killed out of fear as it can be confused with the shier but highly venomous green mamba. The easern Natal green snake is totally harmless. It is not yet listed on the IUCN Red List, but it is currently not believed to be threatened.

Not Evaluated - Eastern Natal Green Snake