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Herald Snake (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia)

Classification: Mildly Venomous but harmless to humans

Other Names: Rooilippie, Heraldslang

A nocturnal snake that frequents suburban gardens, especially those with water features. It is a toad specialist and often eats toads that look far too large to swallow.

The Herald snake is usually greyish to olive-grey 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. In parts of the range the upper lip is bright red, orange or yellowish.

When threatened this snake puts up quite a show, drawing the head back into a striking position with the mouth agape and the head flattened to expose the brightly coloured lips. It is mildly venomous and poses no threat to humans or domestic animals.

The presence of this snake was first announced in the Herald newspaper in the Eastern Cape, hence the common name.