Green Water Snake

Photo added by Andrew Louw

(This snake was found in Mountain Sanctuary Park which is just behind Buffelspoort dam, about 40 km from Rustenburg)

Philothamnus hoplogaster

The Green water snakes lives up to its name by usually being bright emerald green above, sometimes with black bars on the anterior third of the back. These bars are barely visible in this picture. It is bluish-white or white below or sometimes yellow as in this photo. This is a diurnal snake that reaches the lengths of nearly a meter.

It can be found in various habitats, but most commonly found in lowland forest and moist savanna biomes. It can be found all along the east coast, south from Port Elizabeth and north to halfway up in Mozambique. All of Kwa-Zulu Natal and inland to Gauteng and most of Zimbabwe.

It is called the Green Water Snake, because it is usually found in damp areas near water such as riverine thickets, swamps and flood plains of lakes and dams and rivers. It is an excellent swimmer. It can be found on the ground and off the ground in trees or bushes where it sleeps on the outer edges of branches.

It feeds mainly on frogs which are sometimes caught in the water and then dragged to land where it will be swallowed whole. Occasionally it eats fish and small lizards too. Juveniles sometimes eats insects. It is harmless to the human being.

Scale count at midbody are in 15 rows with 140 to 165 ventral scales and 73 to 106 subcaudals. The anal shield is divided.

Louis van Niekerk

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