Natal Black Snake

Scientific name: Macrolaps microlepidoyus

Common names: Natal Black Snake; Natalse Swartslang (Afr)

 

The are mildly venomous, however bites are very rare.

The adults average 60cm to 90cm in length and can reach a length of 1,2m.

The colour is a uniform black to jet-black both above and below. The skin becomes a dull silvery grey when ready to slough.

Distribution

They are found along the East Coast of South Africa from the Eastern Cape to the Mozambique border.

 

Habitat

They prefer damp localities in lowland forest and along streams in coastal bush. They are also found in urban gardens.

Habits

They are usually found under rotting logs or under stones, in leaf litter, animal burrows and in stormwater drains. They can be seen moving about on warm overcast days, or on warm, damp nights.

They are very docile and is very reluctant to bite.

They are good swimmers and has been observed swimming in forest streams.

They burrow through leaf-litter in search of food.

Food

They feed on frogs, especially Rain Frogs, legless lizards, snakes and small rodents.

They grasp their prey, wrap a few coils around it and then chew on them to enable the venom to penetrate.

Reproduction

They are oviparous, laying 3 to 10 eggs in summer.

The young measure 20 to 29cm in length at hatching.