Common Slug-Eater

(ENG) Common Slug-Eater
(AFR) Gewone Slakvreter / Tabakrolletjie
 
Duberria lutrix
 
This is a regular visitor to some of us, found mostly in damp areas where it is close to its prey, slugs and snails. This is a diurnal species (it comes out during the day) and it is terrestrial.(It stays on the ground)
Usually it would be found under a form of cover, in this case it was found under a wendy-house door. This snake can also be found under rocks, pieces of wood, zink plates, grass tufts, heaps of tiles etc.
This snake is very important to the ecology and useful to have in the garden as it keeps the numbers of snails and slugs down. (Very useful if you have a vegetable garden as this snake is harmless) This snake almost never bites, I have handled many of them and none of them even tried. The Afrikaans name 'tabakrolletjie' comes from the defence strategy: When the snake is attacked or feels threatened, it rolls itself up tight into a spiral with its head tucked away. This looks like a roll of tobacco, hence the AFR name. It also has the ability to secrete a bad odour through its scent glands. Adults reach lengths of 43 cm.
 
This snake can be found almost through the whole country of South Africa, except for the northern part of the Western Cape and the dry parts of the North West.
 
This snake poses no danger to man, it locates snails and slugs by following the slime trails and then eat them. When it eats snails, it will grab hold of  the head part and pull the body out its shell to swallow the whole thing. The Common Slug-Eater can sometimes be confused with juvenile Mole Snakes.
 
Scales at midbody would be in 15 rows with 116 to 142 ventrals and 24 to 51 paired subcaudals. the anal shield is entire.
 
This picture has a nice view of the dorsal part of this snake, there are other pics of this snake on my facebook group, feel free to check them out.

Louis van Niekerk

For more info and pics about this snake and other snakes of South Africa, please visit my Facebook group at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=96621376042
Photo by Rebecca Laird
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