First Field Guide to Snakes & Reptiles of Southern Africa

These little guides are an invaluable resource for beginners
Hawthorne, Tracey
In stock
€9.95 *
First Field Guide to Snakes & Reptiles of Southern Africa

Author: Tracey Hawthorne
Struik Publishers
Cape Town, 1998
ISBN: 9781868721238
Paperback, 11x17 cm, 56 pages, throughout colour photos


A First Field Guide to Snakes & Other Reptiles of Southern Africa provides fascinating insight into the reptiles of the region.

Through full-colour photographs and distribution maps, and easy-to-read text, the young adult and budding naturalist will be able to identify the more common species found in southern Africa, discover where they live, and leam about their unique feeding and nesting habits.

These little guides are an invaluable resource for the beginner, providing information at a glance through superb photographs, maps and easy-to-read text.

• handy pocket size
• easy-to-read text
• suitable for the beginner naturalist
• each species is photographed

Southern African reptiles:

Most people, when asked whether they like reptiles, will shudder and say either, Yuk! They’re all cold and slimy! or No way! They’re poisonous!

In fact, the former is untrue and the latter applies to surprisingly few species in our region (see note on venoms, page 8).

All reptiles have a dry, horny skin, usually modified into scales or plates. And, although they are cold-blooded, their blood may actually be just as warm as any other living creatures.

The term cold-blooded refers to the fact that all reptiles obtain their heat from external sources (usually the sun, which is why so many reptiles enjoy sun-bathing), unlike mammals and birds, which generate heat internally.

Warm-blooded creatures (like humans) need a constant supply of food to continually generate heat; some reptiles, on the other hand, can survive on as few as 10 meals a year.

Reptile’s ancestors were the early amphibians that crawled out of the seas about 370 million years ago; a group of these evolved into reptiles. In southern Africa today we have 480 species of reptiles, including the worlds richest diversity of land tortoises.

More than half are endemic. Although only 46 of the most common reptiles have been included in this book, it is hoped that this selection will illustrate how interesting, resourceful and hardy - and, in many cases, beautiful - the reptilian life of southern Africa is, and encourage further investigation of this fascinating world.


Southern African reptiles
How to use this book
Leopard Tortoise
Geochelone pardalis
Serrated or Kalahari Tent Tortoi;
Psammobates oculiferus
Tent Tortoise
Psammobates tentorius
eatherback Turtle
Dermochelys coriacea
Loggerhead Turtle
Caretta caretta
Marsh or Helmeted Terrapin
Pelomedusa subrufa
Peters Thread Snake
Leptotyphlops scutifrons
African Rock Python
Python sebae
Cape Centipede Eater
Aparallactus capensis
Common Brown Water Snake
Lycodonomorphus rufulus
Brown House Snake
Lamprophis fuliginosus
Aurora House Snake
Lamprophis aurora
Cape Wolf Snake
Lycophidion capense
Common Slug-Eater
Duberria lutrix
Mole Snake Pseudaspis cana
Sundevalls Shovel-snout
Prosymna sundevallii
Spotted Bush Snake
Philothamnus semivariegatus
Common or Rhombic Egg-eatel
Dasypeltis scabra
Herald or Red-lipped Snake
Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia
Eastern Tiger Snake
Telescopus semiannulatus
Boomslang Dispholidus typus
Twig or Vine Snake
Thelotomis capensis
Spotted Harlequin Snake
Homoroselaps lacteus
Coral Snake
Aspidelaps lubricus
Shield-nose Snake
Aspidelaps scutatus
Sundevalls Garter Snake
Elapsoidea sundevallii
Snouted Cobra
Naja annulifera
Cape Cobra Naja nivea
Mozambique Spitting Cobra
or Mfezi Naja mossambica
Hemachatus haemachatus
Black Mamba
Dendroaspis polylepis
Common or Rhombic Night
Adder Causus rhombeatus
Puff Adder Bitis arietans
Berg Adder Bitis atropos
Cape Skink Mabuya capensis
Variegated Skink
Mabuya variegata
Spotted Sand Lizard
Pedioplanis lineoocellata 46
Yellow-throated Plated Lizard
Gerrhosaurus flavigularis 47
Rock or White-throated Monitor
Varanus albigularis 48
Nile or Water Monitor
Varanus niloticus 49
Southern Rock Agama
Agama atra 50
Cape Dwarf Chameleon
Bradypodion pumllum 51
Flap-neck Chameleon
Chamaeleo dilepis 52
Moreaus Tropical House Gecko
Hemidactylus mabouia 53
Bibrons Thick-toed Gecko
Pachydactylus bibronii 54
Nile Crocodile
Crocodylus niloticus 55
Glossary 56
Index and Checklist 57


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