Photo Martin Habecker. Click to view full size.
|Identification||A snake with a beak-like snout and with the eyes in
contact with the scales that border the upper lip. The anal is paired.
The ventrals number 148 to 192, the subcaudals 90 to 110 pairs and the
dorsals 17 in the row at midbody. The limit of recorded length is
1380 mm. (Corkill 1935).
Chirio and Ineich
1991: "Ce taxon se distingue de la forme nominative par sa couleur
dorsale plutôt ivoire, rarement brun-rouge ou rosé et surtout par la
bande sombre qui s'étend de la narine jusqu'en arrière de l'oeil. Cette
bande est très nettement visible sur la photographie donnée par
|Common Names||Rufous Beaked Snake; Eastern Sharp-nosed Snake.
Corkill 1935: "It appears probable that this is the snake known in
Kordofan to the Baggara as ABU HANAIG, that is, the " father of jaw."
To the Nubas of Jebel Moro it is known as BINGIL at Tira Luman and
PENNAIR at Acheron."
|Synonym||Rhamphiophis rostratus PETERS 1854: 624
Rhamphiophis rostratus — PARKER 1932: 214
Rhamphiophis rostratus — LOVERIDGE 1936: 37
Rhamphiophis rostratus — BOGERT 1942
Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus rostratus - LOVERIDGE 1957
Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus rostratus — BROADLEY 1959, 1962
Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus rostratus — AUERBACH 1987: 164
Rhamphiophis rostratus — LANZA 1988
Rhamphiophis rostratus — MEIRTE 1992
Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus rostratus — BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991: 27
Rhamphiophis rostratus — SPAWLS et al. 2001
Rhamphiophis rostratus — BROADLEY et al. 2003
Rhamphiophis rostratus — BROADLEY et al. 2004
Rhamphiophis rostratus — CIMATTI 2005
|Distribution||Republic of South Africa (E Transvaal), E Africa from S
Sudan and Ethiopia to moazmbique, through Somalia, Kenya, Uganda,
Tanzania, Malawi, SE Zaire, Zimbabwe, Zambia (Zambezi and Luangwa
valleys fide Broadley 1971);
Type locality: “Tette” [Mozambique]
Chirio & Ineich 1991: "DISTRIBUTION : Sud Soudan, Ethiopie, Somalie, Zaïre, Ouganda, Kenya, Tanzanie, Zambie, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Est Transvaal (République d'Afrique du Sud)."
Corkill 1935: "In the Sudan specimens have been secured from Kordofan
|Types||Syntypes: ZMB 2484, 9994|
of Sean Thomas
Chirio & Ineich 1991: "Ce taxon se distingue de la forme nominative
par sa couleur dorsale plutôt ivoire, rarement brun-rouge ou rosé et
surtout par la bande sombre qui s'étend de la narine jusqu'en arrière de
l'oeil. Cette bande est très nettement visible sur la photographie
And: "Le pourcentage de longueur de la queue par rapport à la
longueur totale semble nettement
|Habitat||"An adult was observed in sandveld on the road between
Xlekhane and Mungazi and was also recorded in this area by Broadley
Broadley 1959 (Rhodesia): "Restricted to the dry sandveld at
the lower altitudes."
|Food||Rufous Beaked Snakes are enthusiastic rodent feeders.
They hunt their prey by burrowing, and when they find it, they kill by
envenomation, and sometimes constriction. Captive specimens will do fine
on F/T mice, appropriately sized. Wild Rostratus will prey upon rodents,
lizards, small snakes, frogs and small birds. Juveniles will even eat
Eaten by other snakes (particularly vine snakes), birds of prey (particularly secretary birds and snake eagles).
'Rhamphiophis Q. rostratus also takes day old chicks and small biri"s readily in captivity' (H.A.R. 15)
|Size||Adults average around four feet long, though there have been specimens documented over six feet. (Source)|
Typically these snakes are very easy to handle, seldom showing signs of aggression. Juveniles may hiss, but it's usually just a bluff. Another added bonus is they generally have a very good feeding response. They are curious and very alert. (Source)
|Venom||Reported envemonations are limited to swelling in the
bite area, probably due to the person's specific allergy to the venom;
no fatalaties have been reported, as their venom is of no real
consequence to humans. (Source)
For scientific data about the venom: click here.
|Reproduction||Rufous Beaked Snakes can, under proper care, double
their size within the first year of their life. They usually are
sexually mature at 18 months. They are oviparous, laying 7 to 18 eggs in
the midsummer. The young are typically around 12 inches.
Interesting stuff, R Rostratus experience an ontogenetic change from juvenile to adult; they hatch out either light gray, pinkish, or tan. They can also show a chain-link pattern, and reddish speckles or dots (not to be confused with Rhamphiophis rubropunctatus). As they mature, these juvenile patterns will disappear. This change usually happens when the snake is around 2 feet long. (Source)
|Housing in captivity||Housing is fairly simple. They typically do not have
problems shedding, so no major attention to humidity is needed. Although
a humid hide always helps with shedding, and of course can double as an
egg laying hide. Large specimens need 2'L x 16"W x 6"H. Younger Rufous
can be kept in 12"L x 6"W x 6"H. They can be kept well in racks, and on
aspen bedding, although other substrates may be used. Of course, not
pine or cedar (a friendly reminder to those who do not know). Provide at
least two inches of bedding, as this snake is an avid burrower.
And of course temperature. Warm side of the cage around 86F and cool side around 78F. There doesn't need to be a drop at night. Of course these settings are geared more towards a rack setting. However in individual cages there will probably be a few degrees drop at night. That's fine. (Source)