The Reptiles snakes and lizards, are as much a part of the animal life of the Palmiet Nature Reserve as are the mammals and birds. The snakes may have taken on the role of the main predators, effecting a control on small mammals, birds, toads and frogs, where other more usual predators do not occur.

Because of their quiet secretive ways, their extraordinary ability to conceal themselves and to remain motionless for long periods snakes are seldom seen. Contact is thus sudden unexpected and at close quarters. For most humans this is an alarming experience but by remaining still the danger of being bitten is greatly minimised.Venomous snakes are more interested in escaping than defending themselves. Snakes are wild creatures and as such their strong sense of self preservation demands that they flee from the presence of danger. If obstructed they are forced to attack..

A number of lizards also occur in the area. The commonest being Skinks (Mabuya), Plated lizards (Gerrhosarus) and Geckos. Two types of chameleon also occur. The large Flap-necked Chameleon and the small brown or grey Dwarf Chameleon which bears living young.

The black and yellow water leguaan (Nile Monitor) and the Rock Monitor are also common in the reserve

Photo Clive Read Feb 2003 Copyright © 2004 All Rights Reserved

Life and death in the Palmiet. A Vine or Twig snake(thelotornis capensis) attacks a Flap- neck Chameleon.(Chamaeleo dilepis)This entire process took almost forty minutes. The Chameleon did not appear to be affected by the Vine Snake's venom and clung on for dear life until the last leg was swallowed. The snake would drop its body to try and dislodge the chameleon and then hung down to swallow its meal. Flap-neck chameleons are also preyed upon by monkeys and crowned hornbills.They lay up to 57 eggs in the ground during spring. The eggs take up to 5 months to hatch.

List of Snakes for the Palmiet Reserve ( V= Venomous )
Adder Burrowing   .
Adder Puff
Bitis arietans
Adder Rhombic Night
Causus rhombeatus
Blind Snake Bibrons
Typhiops bibronii
Dispholidus typus
Brown House Snake   Lamprophis capensis
Bush Snake Green Natal
Philothamnus semivariegatus
Black headed Centipede Eater   Aparallactus capensis
Bush Snake Spotted
Philothamnus natalensis
Cape File Snake
Common Wolf Snake   Lycophidon capense

Mozambique Spitting Cobra

. Naja mossambica
Egg Eating Snake Brown
Green Water Snake   Philothamus hoplogaster
Grass Snake Olive
Herald Snake
House Snake Brown
Lamprophis fuliginosus
House Snake Olive
Lamprophis inortus
Mamba Black
Dendroaspis polylepis
Natal Green Snake   Philothamnus natalensis
Natal Black Snake
Peters'Thread/Worm Snake   Leptotyphlops scutifrons
Red Lipped Herald   Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia
Python African Rock
Python sebae
Spotted Bush Snake   Philothamnus semivariegatus
Vine or Twig Snake
Thelotornis capensis


Olive house snake laying eggs. Photos by Nic Evans Oct 2011

Photo Nick Evans 2010 Night adder enjoying a meal
Photo Nick Evans 2010 Dwarf Chameleon
Photo Nick Evans 2010 Dwarf Chameleon
Photo Nick Evans 2010 Flap Necked Chameleon
 Photo Nick Evans 2010 Common or Rhombic Night Adder (Causus rhombeatus) The Common or Rhombic Night Adder is a nocturnal snake but despite it's name is usually seen throughout the day especially in the morning and late afternoon. It feeds on frogs and toads. They are mildly venomous. They have a Cytotoxic venom which causes swelling and occasionally necrosis. It may also cause acute discomfort. Antivenom is effective but generally not required. Bites should not be treated lightly and seek medical attention. However they will move off if given the chance. If cornered it will inflate it's body with air, coil up, and hiss aggressively, striking violently at the same time. It is terrestrial and slow moving. often found in damp environments, moist savanna, lowland forest and fynbos. Their length averages between 30-60cm with a maximum of about 1m. They are generally larger in KZN. Nick Evans
Photo Nick Evans 2010 Water Monitors are terrestrial, semi-aquatic lizards that are normally found near rivers, dams, and streams. They are diurnal and spend most of their day hunting or basking. They are most often seen basking on riverbanks or large rocks next to rivers. If disturbed they will launch themselves into the water. They will not attack humans although if cornered they will lash out with there tail and if you try to grab it, it will bite, but they are generally not aggressive. They feed on anything they can overpower such as crabs, frogs, snakes, lizards, invertebrates, eggs, small mammals including mongoose and dassies, and birds. Their colouration is bright yellow and black patterns when they are young. When they grow older the bright colours usually fade away. Their length averages 1 to 1 and a half meters but can get to 2 meters. Nick Evans

Photo Clive Read Copyright © 2010 All Rights Reserved






A Rock Monitor Varanus exanthematicus enjoys a land snail
Photo Clive Read Copyright © 2004 All Rights Reserved  27/08/04
A Tree Agama or Blue Headed Lizard Agama atricollis suns itself. Diurnal and active often in pairs (350mm)Up to 16 soft eggs laid in hole in ground. Tails not dropped. Males have a blue head in summer with rough scales.

Palmiet Nature Reserve
Copyright © 2015 All Rights Reserved

Updated 09 Mar 2010