Western Striped-Bellied Sand Snake

(found at field kitchen at Venetia Game Reserve, Limpopo)

Psammophis subtaeniatus

This snake is a long slender snake with a pointed head and round pupils, usually striped from neck to tail, although you can't really see the body in this photo.
This is a very common and extremely fast moving snake. It is diurnal (active in daytime) like most sand/whip snakes. If stumbled upon, this snake will slither off quickly and then freeze within the nearest bush or shrub and futher rely on camouflage. This snake is largely terrestrial. It has a lemony-yellow coloured belly. The adults can reach lenghts up to 1.4 meters long.

This snake can be found in the Northwest and Limpopo provinces and countries surrounding these areas. I favours arid savanna biomes. It is very common in the Limpopo valley as well as the Zambezi valley.

This snake poses no danger to man, although it is mildly venomous. It feeds on rodents, frogs, lizzards and small birds. This snake can easily be confused with the other sand/whip snakes of the Genus Psammophis. Sometimes confused with the striped skaapsteker.

Scale count at midbody would be in 17 rows with 155 to 181 ventral scales and 106 to 132 paired subcaudals. The anal shield is devided.

Louis van Niekerk

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