As previously mentioned here, one of the questions we probably get the most from guests are, “are there any snakes around here?” The easy answer is normally “Yes!”. However, snakes are very elusive and even though there are in excess of 30 species recorded in this area, most guests will probably leave without having seen one.

Last night conditions were perfect… very hot, humid and a chance of rain, and during our night drive we spotted a Red lipped Herald crossing the road. Red lipped snakes are only mildly venomous and are partial to hunting frogs, small reptiles and then also the occasional small rodent. They can grow to lengths of up to 1 meter but average out at about 70cm. Normally they are olive green or grey with tiny white speckles.

The head is usually black or at least darker than the body and the distinguishing factor is the red, white, orange or yellowish upper lip. The belly is normally white to mother of pearl cream coloured. Red lip Herald snakes are nocturnal by habit and fairly common and widespread from here to all the way to our Cape Province (hence the name “Herald” which is a very well known newspaper in the eastern Cape).

Although most people find snakes quite “unpopular”, our sighting last night was  fascinating and our guests enjoyed every moment of  it!

Westley Lombard

Ranger – Kapama Main Lodge

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