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Dasypeltis inornata (Southern brown egg-eater)

Suidelike bruin eiervreter [Afrikaans]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Lepidosauromorpha > Lepidosauria > Squamata > Serpentes (snakes) > Family: Colubridae > Subfamily: Colubrinae > Genus: Dasypeltis

Dasypeltis inornata (Southern brown egg-eater), Mpumalanga, South Africa. [J. Theron , from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Dasypeltis inornata (Southern brown egg-eater), Eastern Cape, South Africa. [D. Stuart-Fox and A. Moussalli , from SARCA Virtual Museum]


Can be identified by its uniform yellowish red or brown colour, a small head, a vertical pupil and its strictly nocturnal lifestyle. This snake grows to an average length of 75 cm but may reach up to one meter in length.

Distribution and habitat

Native to the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, a small part of Northern Limpopo, and Swaziland. Favours wooded habitats including lowland forest and moist savanna. 


Feeds exclusively on bird eggs which are crushed by bony vertebral projections in the neck area.

Predators, parasites and disease

Fed on by other snakes and birds of prey (particularly secretary birds and snake eagles).


Oviparous (egg laying), lays between 7 and 17 eggs in summer.



Medical importance

Non-venomous and not dangerous to people.



  • Broadley, D.G. 1983. FitzSimons' Snakes of Southern Africa. Delta Books, Johannesburg.

  • Marais, J. 2004. A Complete Guide to Snakes of Southern Africa. Struik Publishing, Cape Town.