|Higher Taxa||Lamprophiidae, Psammophiinae, Serpentes (snakes)|
|Subspecies||Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus rostratus (PETERS 1854) is now considered as a valid species.|
|Common Names||Rufous beaked snake|
|Derivatio nominis||Eng.: rufous ( /ˈruːfəs/) is a colour that may be
described as reddish-brown or brownish-red, as of rust or oxidised iron.
The first recorded use of rufous as a colour name in English was in the
year 1782. The name "rufous" is derived from the meaning of “red” in
Latin and is used as an adjective in the names of many animals,
especially birds, to describe the colour of their skin, fur or plumage.
Lat.: Greek: Ὀξύρρυγχος; "sharp-nosed".
|Synonym||Psammophis oxyrhynchus REINHARDT 1843
Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus — PETERS 1854
Rhagerrhis unguiculata — GÜNTHER 1868: 422
Coelopeltis oxyrhynchus — JAN
Coelopeltis porrectus JAN
Rhagerrhis oxyrhynchus — GÜNTHER 1888: 327
Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus — BROADLEY 1998
Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus — SPAWLS et al. 2001
Ramphiophis [sic] oxyrhynchus — PADIAL 2006
Synonymy partly after GÜNTHER 1888.
|Distribution||N Botswana, Zimbabwe, S Mozambique, N Democratic
Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Ghana, Sudan,
Central African Republic, Cameroon, Benin, Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso,
Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania,
Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi;
Distribution: It is suspected that specimens from “Tangaika” (Witte 1953) were obtained on the Tanzanian side of Lake Tanganyika (BROADLEY 1998). Not listed for Zambia by BROADLEY et al. (2003) and thus deleted for Zambia.
Type locality: Ghana, Gambia
"Moist savanna, from about 500 to 1300 m altitude, elsewhere to sea level. In our area, known only from three Uganda localities: Amudat, Ongino and Bulisa, elsewhere west to Mali."(3)
Chirio & Ineich 1991: "D' a p r è s les données de la littérature et l'examen des spécimens du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, nous limiterons l'aire de distribution de R. o. oxyrhynchus, la forme typiquement occidentale, comme suit: Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Tchad, Sénégal, Guinée, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Bénin, Nigeria, Cameroun."
|Venom||See the article about the
Click here for scientific toxological information.
|Identification||"A fairly large, muscular snake. The head is short, snout pointed, eye large, with a round pupil and a golden or red-brown iris; this is hard to see in normal light. The tongue is pink with a white tip. Body cylindrical, tail 27 to 12 % of total length. The scales are smooth, in 17 raws at midbody, ventrals 170 to 196, subcaudals paired, 88 to 106. Maximum size about 1.5 m, average 70 cm to 1.2 m, hatching 28 to 35 cm. Colour quite variable: grey, pink, brown, yellow-brown or orange, in large specimens the dorsal scales are horizontally darkened in the centre, giving the body a finely striped appearance. The ventrals are immaculate white, cream or yellow, sometimes the throat is yellow and the belly white. Juveniles have a series of small rufous flank blotches. Similar species: Resembles several grey or brown snakes, but can be identified by the dark eye and beaked snout. Taxonomic Notes. For a long time, this species and the Rufous Beaked Snake Rhamphiophis rostratus, were thought to be subspecies."(3)|
|Chirio&Ineich, 1991: "Cette sous-espèce présente une coloration caractéristique qui permet de la distinguer sans ambiguïté de R. o. rostratus ; en effet, elle est toujours brune, rouge ou rose presque uniforme et surtout ne présente aucune bande visible en avant et en arrière de l'oeil."|
|Sexing||Chirio&Ineich, 1991: "Chez cette espèce, le nombre cumulé de ventrales et de sous-caudales est plus élevé chez les femelles (262-288, moyenne 274,6) que chez les mâles (243-278, moyenne 259,4)."|
|Life||"Diurnal and terrestrial (although it will
climb into bushes), spends much lime in holes, looking for prey.
Quick-moving and alert; when moving through the bush it often pauses,
head up. When it sees prey it may jerk the head from side to side,
targeting its prey. Copulation in captivity occurred in the open,
lasting between 20 minutes and 3 hours, in February and April. A Ugandan
female was gravid in October, which could mean that hatchlings appear in
the rainy season, March to April. Hatchlings in Ghana were captured in
April and May, start of the rainy season. Multiple clutching has been
recorded in captivity, up to four per year, whether this occurs in the
wild is not known. Clutches of 6 to 18 eggs, roughly 2 x 4.5 cm,
recorded. These snakes eat a wide variety of prey; rodents, lizards,
frogs and snakes are taken."(3)
A very good article about the reproduction of this snake is that of Ernst e.a. 1999 (full text available).
|Video||Video by Frankiecasa on Youtube:|