🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Juvenile African Mole snake (Pseudaspis cana)

Walking in the garden yesterday morning, I noticed all the chickens gathered in one spot on the lawn, necks outstretched and a general look of alarm and consternation on all their faces. Upon closer inspection, I found this little juvenile African Mole snake (Pseudaspis cana), equally alarmed at being surrounded by such a curious audience.

I didn't have my camera with me, and besides which I feared the chickens might attack and hurt him, so I had to pick him up and go inside to get the camera. I apologise for the pics not being better, but it's rather difficult working a camera with a zoom lens with one hand! After these couple of photos, I carried him to outside the garden wall and released him in the long grass on our smallholding. It's no guarantee he'll be safe there either, the closest trees where he might find some birds' eggs is either our blue gum bush further down the plot or the neighbour's garden.

Before I had chickens, I always used to leave them in the garden where I was sure they would be quite safe until they decided to move on. This little chap is about 30cm long and they reach a length of up to 2m.

The Mole snake can be identified by its uniform brown, grey or black colour (juveniles have zigzag or mottled markings), its preference for burrowing, a round pupil and highly aggressive self-defence display. (Read HERE about Mollie, my resident mole snake). It grows to an average length of 1.4 meters but may reach 2 meters in length. The Mole snake eats rodents (particularly rats, mice and gerbils), moles and birds. Juveniles however are largely restricted to lizards, probably why this juvenile was attracted to my garden, I have a lot of lizards (African striped skink).

Mole snakes give birth to live young), gives birth to between 25 and 50 young (or up to 95 in rare cases) in late summer. They have been known to live for 20 years in captivity.

PS: Never pick up any snakes, even small ones, if you're not 100% sure of what it is!

Molslang [Afrikaans]; Inkwakhwa [Xhosa]; uBhulube, umJungendlu [Zulu]



  1. What a lovely visitor. Great first photo.

    1. Thank you John! I was really chuffed to see it, just a pity I couldn't put it back in the garden because of the chickens.

  2. Maree, thank you for a most pleasurable and informative read!

    1. Glad you found it interesting Kathryn, so presumably you are(?) a snake-lover? Smile! Thanks for the visit!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...