Common Egg-Eating Snake

Common Egg-Eating Snake        Dasypeltis scabra

Type of Animal:

Forests, woodlands, savanna, forest clearings, semi-desert

S Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, SE Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, S Uganda, far S Angola, Somalia, Eritrea, much of Ethiopia, Djibouti, C & S Sudan, w/ isolated populations in Egypt & SW Arabian Peninsula

Rhomboidal dark brown spots on lighter background, belly yellowish, either uniform or w/ dark dots, some individuals reddish

Feeds exclusively on bird & reptile eggs. Favors bird eggs over reptile eggs.

Status in Wild:

Not applicable


Additional Info:


Male-2 oz
Female-2.5 oz

2.5-3 months 

Life Span:
8 years

Body Length:
Male-2.3 ft
Female-3.6 ft
Young-9.5 in

Tail Length:
9 in

Main predators are carnivorous/omnivorous mammals, birds, large frogs, other snakes, lizards, & crocodilians.

Breeding usually occurs in spring.

Females scatter clutches rather than lay all eggs in one spot.

These snakes are nocturnal.

While mainly terrestrial, they will climb trees to reach bird eggs.

It lacks teeth but has bony protrusions on inside edge of spine, used to break eggshells.

Once eggs eaten, they completely regurgitate the shells.

Has excellent sense of smell & avoids rotten/overly developed eggs.

These snakes tend to be rather sensitive but non-aggressive.

Due to lack of teeth, bites harmless.

Fun Fact(s):
Captive-bred specimens much easier to take care of than wild-caught ones.

These snakes uncommon in captivity, due to sensitive temperament & specialized diet.

Often mistaken for venomous night adders. They can be distinguished since egg-eaters have vertical pupils while night adders have round pupils. In SW Africa, mistaken for horned adder.

When threatened, they’ll rub scales together quickly to make hiss-like rasping noise.

They can eat eggs up to 3 times size of head.

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