The herald or red-lipped snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia) is one of the most common snakes found in suburban gardens in Southern Africa. They are especially found in gardens with water features or fish ponds.
“This mildly venomous snake favours damp areas and feeds largely on frogs and toads,” said Ashley Kemp of the African Snakebite Institute.
They are mainly active at night and when confronted often put up quite an aggressive display. When threatened, herald snakes flatten their heads, hiss and will strike out repeatedly with their mouth agape.
“They are usually olive green or greyish in colour but some individuals are quite dark. The head is always darker than the body and there may be white speckles on the body. The colour on the upper lip varies based on their location, and it can range from orange-red, yellow, white and will sometimes lack colour.”
The presence of this snake was first announced in the herald newspaper in the Eastern Cape, hence the common name.
This article was republished from South Coast Sun with permission