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Southern Speckled Sand Snake

Psammophis punctulatus

Description

Psammophis punctulatis

Psammophis punctulatus trivirgatus

The Speckled Sand Snake A long (approx average 4ft to 6ft long) and slender snake which, from a distance, looks like a black and yellow striped hosepipe. It has a contrasting brown head with white lips and chin. The belly is speckled with white spots on a cream background and hence the common name.

This diurnal snake hunts small mammals and lizards as well as birds. It is usually found in hot dry arid areas and is a very typical snake in Tsavo east National Park. It moves very fast and is believed to be one of the fastest in the world. It is secretive and nonaggressive and can often be located by the sound of birds making alarm calls as it enters their tree or bush.

This harmless snake, although back fanged, has a very weak venom produced in small quantities and often needs to partly constrict it’s prey in order to kill it otherwise it uses a ‘grab and swallow’ method of eating. It is an active snake that pursues its prey rather than wait in ambush.

Live specimens can be seen on display at Nairobi Snake Park and Bio-ken Snake Farm in Watamu.

Speckled Sand Snakes found in Kenya are all of the Southern race P.p. trivirgatus.

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