Psammophis sudanensis WERNER, 1919

Higher Taxa Lamprophiidae, Psammophiinae, Serpentes (snakes) 
Common Names In the past P. s. subtaeniatus and P. s. sudanensis were considered as subspecies, but the former appeared to be problematic. Broadley (1977) renamed it to orientalis. At the moment this orientalis is considered a separate species. Kelly e.a. 2008: "There is some speculation on the validity of Psammophis sudanensis; the specimen on which the name is based (the type of Psammophis subtaeniatus var. sudanensis Werner, 1919) was formerly allocated to P. sibilans (Broadley, 1977a), but reinspection of the specimen (by DGB) indicates that this name is probably valid."
And: "The ‘subtaeniatus’ complex (clade 9) contains five focal species: P. cf. sibilans (Ethiopian), P. rukwae, P. subtaeniatus, P. sudanensis, and P. orientalis."
Synonym Psammophis subtaeniatus sudanensis WERNER 1919
Psammophis subtaeniatus sudanensis — LOVERIDGE 1955
Psammophis subtaeniatus sudanensis — BROADLEY 1966
Psammophis sudanensis — SPAWLS et al. 2001
Psammophis sudanensis — CHIRIO & INEICH 2006 
Distribution Central African Republic, Benin, Cameroon
Type locality: Kadugli, Sudan

Map legend:
- Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map. Copied from Reptile Database.

According to Stephen Spawls, this species also occurs in Kenya. See his checklist. That means that the distribution as given by Broadly 2002 is too narrow. The discussion about the taxonomic place of each species goes on.

Trape & Mané on the snakes of Niger (2015):

Psammophis sudanensis Werner, 1919
Material: One specimen.
Locality: Tarka Dakouara (1).
Remarks: First record for Niger. This species is characterized by four infralabials in contact with the first pair of
mentals and a typical head pattern, with a median yellow line starting from the back of the rostral and reaching the front of the parietals, i.e., crossing the median part of the frontal contrary to P. sibilans.


Comment and video "This morning an Eastern Stripe Bellied Sand Snake Psammophis orientalis was brought in to the Snake Farm by one of the villagers from Jimba, an area on the way to Gede, about 5 km West of Bio-Ken. It had been caught in a village house where it had gone to sleep for the night. The Stripe Bellied Sand Snakes in the Watamu – Malindi area belong to the Eastern group and differ from the ones found in the Northern part of Kenya and especially the Rift Valley. These are known as the Northern Stripe Bellied Sand Snake Psammophis sudanensis and you can tell them apart by the fact that P. orientalis has no white marks while P. sudanensis has several. The ESB Sand Snake is probably the third most common snake in our immediate area. The Snake was released into the wild in the bush behind Bio-Ken today."
Source: http://savingsnakes.wildlifedirect.org/2007/11/28/stripe-bellied-sand-snake-released/

Video from rndomn8 on Youtube, Northern Stripe Bellied Sand Snake (Psammophis) with a mouse at the Meserani Snake Park at Duka Bovi in Tanzania, Africa:


Comment Probably mildly venomous.

Hybridization: Psammophis sudanensis and P. sibilans appear to hybridize (BROADLEY 1966). 
  • Broadley, D.G. 1966. A review of the African stripe-bellied sand snakes of the genus Psammophis. Arnoldia (Rhodesia) 2 (36): 1-9
  • Chirio, L. & Lebreton, M. 2007. Atlas des reptiles du Cameroun. MNHN, IRD, Paris 688 pp.
  • 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
  • Kelly, Christopher M.R., Nigel P. Barker, Martin H. Villet, Donald G. Broadley, William R. Branch. 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, Volume 47, Issue 3, June 2008, Pages 1045-1060
  • Loveridge, A. 1956. On snakes collected in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan by J.S. Owen, Esq. Sudan Notes Rec. 36: 37-56 [1955]
  • Spawls, S.; Howell, K.; Drewes, R.C. & Ashe, J. 2001. A field guide to the reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, 543 pp. [reviews in HR 34: 396 and Afr. J. Herp. 51; 147]
  • 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
  • Werner,F. 1919. Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der mit Unterstützung der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien aus der Erbschaft Treitl von F. Werner unternommenen zoologischen Expedition nach dem Anglo-Aegyptischen Sudan (Kordofan) 1914. IV. Bearbeitung de Denkschr. Akad. Wiss Wien, Math.-Naturw. Klasse 96: 1-73? [452-509 fide ZR; 437-509 fide Joger1990]
Photo by James Barrah, made in Naboisho, Mara, Kenya.

Leejiah Dorward, Facebook group East African Snakes and other Reptiles, 6 januari om 9:12

"Seen a few psammophis snakes being posted recently so thought I'd throw a few more into the mix. These have all been taken around Ruaha over the last year, I'm just heading back into the field so hopefully get a few more records.
Four different snakes pictured:
Pics 1-3 - First snake was hiding in some brush, never got a clear look at its size, nor a great picture of its body.
Pics 4-9 - A snake found dead on the road with a pretty messed up head, was 1.29m long, have some more measurements and scale counts if people are interested.
Pics 10-11 - Was just about to be fed to a juvenile western banded snake eagle by a parent, not great pictures but you can see the black ventral lines and general striping of the body that match the other individuals
Pic 12- I posted here ages ago and think the conclusion was an intermediate between sudanensis and mossambicus but I've included it for reference."


"I dont have my notebook on me (i'll check it later), but from notes I typed up: 6cm circumference midbody, 17 midbody scales, 166 ventral scales, 242 subcaudal scales (in total, not rows wasn't sure how to count them as they are offset not paired) and divided anal scale."

Photograph of P. sudanensis found near Lake Eyasi in Tanzania, found and photographed by Pierre-Yves Vaucher in 2007, and shared on Facebook in 2020. Visit his site.
Photograph of P. sudanensis found near Lake Eyasi in Tanzania, found and photographed by Pierre-Yves Vaucher in 2007, and shared on Facebook in 2020. Visit his site
Photograph of P. sudanensis found near Lake Eyasi in Tanzania, found and photographed by Pierre-Yves Vaucher in 2007, and shared on Facebook in 2020. Visit his site