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Reptiles found in the Kruger – The Brown house snake

Brown house snake
Adult brown house snake. 
Brown house snakes are one of many species of African house snakes found across sub-Saharan Africa. They are medium in size and non-venomous with a variety of patterns and may be striped, spotted or even solid in colour. African house snakes are sexually dimorphic, meaning that females grow to be larger than their male counterparts, with females reaching up to 783 mm and males up to 656 mm in length.  

Brown house snakes are light brown to reddish brown in colour and darken with age on top while their underparts are an off white colour. There are two distinctive pale yellow streaks running across each side of the head from the tip of the snout through the eye but do not run down more than a third of their body length. 

African house snakes, as mentioned are found throughout sub-Saharan African, are able to adapt and live in a variety of habitats. They are referred to as ‘house’ snakes due to often being found settled under stones or in rocky areas of gardens and in the homes of people. These snakes live in underground borrows, scrublands, woodlands, savannah and mountainous areas.
African house snakes that have ventured from the wild are often very nervous if approached by humans and will try to slither away in response. Brown house snakes and their relatives are said to make good pets and make for the perfect first choice of snake for a beginner.
Some may become aggressive during feeding, eating all the food for themselves and preventing others from feeding. In some cases, ravenous hatchlings will eat their smaller brothers and sisters, so it is suggested that all hatchings are best kept apart.

Brown house snake
Juvenile brown house snake. 

Adult brown house snakes eat mostly rodents but will also feed on frogs, lizards and birds while juvenile snakes eat lizards and geckos.
These snakes are powerful constrictors; able to snatch rodents in their jaws before unleashing a strong and deadly grip around the prey. Once the rodent is no longer alive, the grip is released and the unfortunate victim is eaten head first.  


House snakes lay up to 16 eggs in the summer month among vegetable debris or compost, on average 2 months after mating. Females usually stop eating after the first month of gestation and begin a shed cycle before laying her eggs 5 to 10 days later. Hatchlings take between 60 and 75 days to develop within the egg before hatching. When born, hatchings are around 20 cm in length and begin to shed within a week of leaving their eggs.

Did you know?

Those that prey on brown house snakes are larger snakes and birds of prey. 

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