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the web of life in southern Africa

Meizodon semiornatus (Semiornate snake)

Suidelike bosslang; Halfgevlekte slang [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

Meizodon semiornatus (Semiornate snake), Zanzibar. [T. Holter , from SARCA Virtual Museum]

Meizodon semiornatus (Semiornate snake), Limpopo, South Africa. [S. Swanepoel , from SARCA Virtual Museum]


The Semiornate snake can be identified by its flat head, round pupils, irregular black bars and strictly diurnal lifestyle. It grows to an average length of 60 cm and a maximum length of 80 cm.

Distribution and habitat

Found in north east KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, central Mozambique and north west Zimbabwe. Its favoured habitat is lowland forest where it is associated with rotting vegetation but may also be found high up trees.


Eats lizards (particularly skinks and day geckos), frogs and occasionally small rodents.

Predators, parasites and disease

Eaten by other snakes.


Oviparous (egg laying), lays between 2 and 3 eggs in summer.



Medical importance




  • 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.