Psammophis praeornatus (SCHLEGEL, 1837)

Description Body cylindrical, slender, with a fairly long tail.
Oviparous, 6-10 eggs at a time.
Size average (45 cm), maximum 60 cm. Colour: above yellowish to pale olive. Head above marked with four black, tranverse bars; anterior bar running from eye to eye, followed by two bars marking the centre and back of the head respectively; fourth bar marking the nape of the neck. Thereafter, the body is marked with irregular black blotches and crossbars for about a quarter of the length before fading out.
The posterior section, from about the centre of the body above, is marked with a narrow, black vertebral line and a similar line on each side, extending to the tip of the tail.
Snout is blackish above.
Below, whitish to yellowish, sometimes with irregulaar black motting. (2)
Subspecies Psammophis praeornatus gribinguiensis (ANGEL 1921)
Psammophis praeornatus praeornatus (SCHLEGEL 1837) 
Common Names Ornate Olympic Snake 
Synonym Dendrophis praeornatus SCHLEGEL 1837: 236
Philodendros praeornata — FITZINGER 1843: 26
Philodendrus [praeornatus] — AGASSIZ 1846 (unjustified emendation)
Oxyrhopus praeornatus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 1039
Chrysopelea praeornata — GÜNTHER 1858: 147
Chrysopelea praeornata — GÜNTHER 1865: 95
Dromophis praeornatus — PETERS 1869: 447
Dromophis praeornatus — BOULENGER 1896: 150
Dromophis praeornatus — TRAPE & MANÉ 2000
Psammophis praeornatus — KELLY et al. 2008

Psammophis praeornatus gribinguiensis (ANGEL 1921)
Dromophis praeornatus var. gribinguiensis ANGEL 1921
Dromophis praeornatus gribinguiensis — LOVERIDGE 1940: 11
Dromophis praeornatus gribinguiensis — CHIRIO & INEICH 2006
Psammophis praeornatus gribinguiensis — JACOBSEN 2009 
Distribution Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, S Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic (1)

Type locality: “Walo, Senegal” (1)

gribinguiensis: Central African Republic; Type locality: “Gribingui Region, French Equatorial Africa”  (1)

Map legend:
- Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.
Habitat Often found in drier surroundings, as well as damp localities (2).
  • Angel, F. 1921. Bull. Mus. nat. Hist. nat., Paris 27: 141
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1983. Dromophis Peters 1869 (Reptilia, Serpentes): proposed conservation under the plenary powers. Z.N.(S.) 2375 Bull. zool. Nomencl. 40 (3): 189-190
  • Chirio, L. 2009. Inventaire des reptiles de la région de la Réserve de Biosphère Transfrontalière du W (Niger/Bénin/Burkina Faso: Afrique de l’Ouest). [Herpetological survey of the W Transfrontier Biosphere Reserve area (Niger/Benin/Burkina Faso: West Africa] Bull. Soc. Herp. France (132): 13-41 - get paper here
  • Chirio, Laurent and Ivan Ineich 2006. Biogeography of the reptiles of the Central African Republic. African Journal of Herpetology 55(1):23-59. - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C., BIBRON, G. & DUMÉRIL, A. H. A., 1854. Erpétologie générale ou histoire naturelle complète des reptiles. Tome septième. Deuxième partie, comprenant l'histoire des serpents venimeux. Paris, Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret: i-xii + 781-1536 - get paper here
  • Fitzinger, L. 1843. Systema Reptilium, fasciculus primus, Amblyglossae. Braumüller et Seidel, Wien: 106 pp. - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1858. Catalogue of Colubrine snakes of the British Museum. London, I - XVI, 1 - 281
  • Günther, A. 1865. Fourth account of new Species of Snakes in the Collection of the British Museum. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 15: 89-98. - get paper here
  • Hughes, B. 1983. African snake faunas. Bonn. Zool. Beitr. 34: 311-356 - get paper here
  • JACOBSEN, N.H.G. 2009. A contribution to the herpetofauna of the Passendro Area, Central African Republic. Afr. Herp News (47): 2-20
  • Kelly, Christopher M.R.;Nigel P. Barker, Martin H. Villet, Donald G. Broadley and William R. Branch 2008. The snake family Psammophiidae (Reptilia: Serpentes): Phylogenetics and species delimitation in the African sand snakes (Psammophis Boie, 1825) and allied genera. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 47 (3): 1045-1060 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1940. Revision of the African snakes of the genera Dromophis and Psammophis. Bull. Mus. comp. Zool. Harvard 87: 1-69 - get paper here
  • Perret 1961. Bull. Soc. neuchâtel. Sci. nat., 84: 133.
  • Peters,W.C.H. 1869. Über neue Gattungen und neue oder weniger bekannte Arten von Amphibien (Eremias, Dicrodon, Euprepes, Lygosoma, Typhlops, Eryx, Rhynchonyx, Elapomorphus, Achalinus, Coronella, Dromicus, Xenopholis, Anoplodipsas, Spilotes, Tropidonotus). Monatsber. k. preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, 1869: 432-447 - get paper here
  • Schlegel, H. 1837. Essai sur la physionomie des serpens. Partie Générale: xxviii +251 S. + Partie Descriptive: 606 S. + xvi. La Haye (J. Kips, J. HZ. et W. P. van Stockum) - get paper here
  • Segniagbeto G. H., Trape J. F., David P., Ohler A., Dubois A. & Glitho I. A. 2011. The snake fauna of Togo: systematics, distribution and biogeography, with remarks on selected taxonomic problems. Zoosystema 33 (3): 325-360. DOI: 10.5252/z2011n3a4 - get paper here
  • Trape, J.-F. & Mane, Y. 2004. Les serpents des environs de Bandafassi (Sénégal oriental). Bull. Soc. Herp. France 109: 5-34 - get paper here
  • Trape, J.-F. & Mane, Y. 2006. Guide des serpents d’Afrique occidentale. Savane et désert. [Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger]. IRD Editions, Paris, 226 pp.
  • Trape, Jean-François; Mane, Youssouph 2000. Les serpents des environs de Dielmo (Sine-Saloum, Sénégal). Bull. Soc. Herp. France 95: 19-35 - get paper here
  • Ullenbruch, K.; Grell, O.; Böhme, W. 2010. Reptiles from southern Benin, West Africa, with the description of a new Hemidactylus (Gekkonidae), and a country-wide checklist. Bonn Zool. Bull. 57 (1): 31-54 - get paper here
Video Psammophis praeornatus rubbing, video by Danielle Kirtley


(1) The Reptile Database

(2) R.M. Isemonger, 1968 (repr. 1983). Snakes of Africa. Capetown, Books of Africa (PTY) Limited.