Variegated Slug Eater

Duberria variegata

While visiting the iSimangaliso Wetland Park recently, we came across this tiny snake at  the Amazibu Hide between St. Lucia Town and Cape Vidal.

Variegated Slugeater (2) Variegated Slugeater (4)

Referring to our copy of the Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa (Bill Branch, Third Edition 1998), Marilize suspected it to be a Variegated or Spotted Slug Eater, an identification confirmed with the assistance of the helpful people at the SA Reptiles Forum.

These snakes are endemic to a very small piece of South Africa’s north-eastern and Mozambique’s southern coastline, occurring in dune forests and grasslands (habitat in abundance at iSimangaliso). It burrows in leaf litter and sandy substrates and, as its name suggests, feeds on slugs and snails. Females give birth to between 7 and 20 live young, about 10cm in length, in late summer, which would mean the 12cm-long specimen we encountered was still quite young (Adults grow to between 22cm and 34cm).

Just goes to show that no matter how much time you spend in natural environments, there’s always something new to discover and interesting to learn!

 

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22 thoughts on “Variegated Slug Eater

  1. Pingback: A winter exploration of St. Lucia’s Eastern Shores | de Wets Wild

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Our thoughts exactly! It’s mostly illegal to catch, move and keep our indigenous reptiles, but if a slug eater was to make its own way to our little patch of Pretoria he’ll be very welcome to stay!

      Just as welcome as you are here at de Wets Wild, Ilex!

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Absolutely agreed Jane! They’re fascinating animals and so well adapted to their environment. Over the year’s we’ve had some hair-raising experiences with some of South Africa’s (and the world’s) deadliest snakes and luckily we and them got away unscathed in all cases. This little guy poses no threat at all, unless you’re a slug…

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. scrapydo2.wordpress.com

    Dis nou te oulik. Baie interessant. Dis so wonderlik om sulke klein dingetjies te belewe as jy jou oë oophou. Die slangetjie laat my nogal aan n lekker fris erdwurm dink. Jul was beslis bevoorreg om so n slangetjie te sien en dan og fotos te neem ook. Dankie vir die deel!

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Dis hoe ons ook voel Ineke. n Paar uur tevore het ons seekoeie en krokodille bekyk, en dan n kans om bietjie van naby iets kleins en ongewoons, wat ons nog nooit gesien het, te waardeer. Die wondere van die natuur ne.

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