Spotted Bush Snake


Philothamnus semivariegatus

This snake can be found in variable colours, but most of the time bright green to darker green above. As you can see in this photo, the snake has spots or crossbars on the front half of the body. These spots or crossbars sometimes become very faint. The back half of the body is usually plain. The snake's belly is yellowish to greenish-white and has distinctive keeled ventral scales which helps this snake to climb. Some specimens have Bronze-Brownish colourations on the dorsal parts and some has a bluish tint, but as I said most are green. Adults can reach lengths up to 1,3 meters. This snake has a round black pupil with an orange iris. This is a diurnal snake. It has a very unusual coloured tongue, it is bright blue with a black tip.

This snake is an excellent climber, it can be found in bushes, trees, on walls or even gliding in between the cracks of bricks. It is also sometimes found on the ground. This is a beautiful snake that will often be found in and around homes, especially in KZN. The main reason for this is geckos. This snake can quickly and easily climb trees, shrubs and even brick walls and it is quite a fast moving snake.

When this snake is disturbed, it will move away fast and in short bursts to the nearest cover. If it is cornered or when it turns defensive, it will inflate the neck like some other snakes and the blue skin inbetween the scales will be visible. This makes it look more dangerous, almost like a Boomslang. This snake bites readily when trying to catch it.

This snake is almost always mistaken for a Boomslang. Altough there are many differences, they both can be seen in trees and both are green. The Spotted Bush Snake is harmless to humans, but often killed by us, because of this confusion.

Their main enemies are cats, predotory birds and other snakes, as well as humans. The Spotted Bush Snake mainly feeds on geckos, but frogs and chameleons are also taken.

The scales at midbody are in 15 rows with 175 to 204 ventral scales and 122 to 166 paired subcaudals. The anal shield is devided.
Louis van Niekerk

Photo By Catherine Naude