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Today is SNAKE SUNDAY!! And we are featuring the Herald Snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia). The Herald Snake, or Red-lipped Snake, occurs widely throughout the damper parts of the Western Cape province of South Africa and northwards up the eastern coast and inland to Gauteng province (see map). Some specimens of this snake have unmistakable red or orange lips, but often this feature is absent and the lips are cream or white. However, this snake always has black temples and fine white speckles on the brown to grey body. When alarmed, herald snakes will coil into striking position and flatten the head which makes the black temple regions obvious and resulting in the head looking much bigger.
Herald Snakes have an average length of 45 cm (max. 1 m). This snake prefers to eat frogs, but will take lizards and in adulthood, small rodents. It is normally associated with damp habitats and is sometimes found in urban gardens where there is sufficient moisture to sustain its amphibian prey. It is a back-fanged snake with a mild venom that does not result in significant medical symptoms for humans – they are effectively harmless to humans. They bite readily when first captured, but soon settle.
You can help us to map this awesome snake's 21st century distribution by submitting your photos to ReptileMAP at http://vmus.adu.org.za/ The photo featured here is record number 1666 from the ReptileMAP database. The photo was taken by G. Diedericks in Mpumalanga province.