March

Dusky-bellied Water Snake (Lycodonomorphus laevissimus)

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Family: Lamprophiidae.

Length: 70-120cm.

Description: This snake has an olive to brown-black body with a cream underbelly. The upper lip is usually spotted and the snake has small eyes with round pupils.

Distribution: Endemic to South Africa. It occurs in the Eastern cape where its range extends up through Kwazulu Natal and into Mpumulanaga and Swaziland.

Habitat: Closely associated with water sources such as dams, streams and rivers where it is often found beneath rocks either on the banks of water sources or in the water itself.

Reproduction: Oviparous, lays 17 eggs in summer.

Diet: Frogs, tadpoles and fish. Diurnal hunter.

Conservation concern: Least concern, common.

Threat to humans: None

Interesting facts: The largest water snake in the region. During the day, the snake takes refuge under submerged rocks in the water column where it ambushes fish and frogs.

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References:

Alexander, G. & Marais, J. 2007. A Guide to the Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town. STRUIK Nature.

Branch, B. 2016. Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town. STRUIK Nature.

Bates, M.F., Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M., Burger, M., Marais, J., Alexander, G.J. & de Villiers, M.S. (eds). 2014. (CD set). Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Marais, J. 2014. Snakes and Snakebite in Southern Africa. Cape Town. STRUIK Nature.

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