Natal Green Snake

Philothamnus natalensis

The Natal Green Snake occurs only in southern Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa (from the Garden Route, along the coast through the Eastern Cape into Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng) with two subspecies – Eastern and Western – being recognized. It inhabits forests and woodland habitats, often near houses, where they feed mainly on frogs, small reptiles, chicks and large insects. This is an alert, active and agile snake that is entirely lacking in venom and thus harmless to humans. They breed in early summer, with females laying small clutches of 3-8 eggs (occasionally as many as 14). Adults grow to a length of about a meter.

The IUCN considers the species to be of least concern.

While visiting Umlalazi Nature Reserve in December 2018, Marilize was first to notice this Eastern Natal Green Snake one afternoon while enjoying the early evening hours on the patio of our accommodation unit. It was remarkably relaxed and unperturbed by our presence, and allowed us a few photographs before sneaking off while we weren’t watching.

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42 thoughts on “Natal Green Snake

  1. Noelien van Rensburg

    Teen regop dwarsle-ers in my tuin, het ‘n langerige dun groen slang rustig en soek-soek op geseil, rond beweeg tussen die dwarsle-ers, weer halpad af gekom tot by die voels se waterbaak, water gedrink en verder af beweeg tot dit in ‘n struik verdwyn het. Dit was helder groen met groot oe maar om vanuit die huis, was daar nie meer detail sigbaar nie. Kan alle groenslange boomklim? Hierdie is waargeneem in Morganbaai, Oos-Kaap.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Baie dankie vir die baie interessante bydrae, Noelien! Inderdaad, omtrent alle slange hier in Suid-Afrika kan boomklim en goed daarby, en veral aan die oos kus van ons land moet mens maar altyd n groenerige slang met versigtigheid benader ingeval dit dalk n groen mamba of boomslang kan wees. Sou jy hom weer gewaar en dalk n foto kan neem kan jy dit gerus aanstuur dat ons kan kyk of ons met n beter identifikasie kan help.

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      1. Noelien van Rensburg

        Hai-hai, dankie. Ek sal beslis so maak wanneer ek moed het om naby genoeg te gaan. Ek vermoed dis sy tuisbasis want ek het hom al heel dikwels in daardie deel van die tuin gesien – behalwe natuurlik is daar ‘n magdom is, wat ek betwyfel.
        Noelien

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Is maar altyd beter om eers goed seker te maak dat dit nie n boomslang of mamba is nie voor mens nader gaan. Ek was regtig verbaas dat hierdie een so toegeeflik was met ons teenwoordigheid so naby hom,

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      I knew you would love this post, John!
      Our snakes are a lot more shy than yours so seeing one is always a bonus. I think it is because we have so many predators and raptors here that will make a meal of a snake.

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  2. petrujviljoen

    Ek voel nou beter. Het hier so ‘n slang gesien en gedog dis ‘n boomslang. Ontsettend vinnig terwyl die Natal Groenslang stadiger is (sΓͺ hulle my). Na ‘n lang dag op die naaste dorp ontspan ek in die tuin met ‘n koue bier, kaal voete in die koel gras. Die slang kom van agter die stoel en seil tussen my voete deur en reg by die agterdeur vlieg dit om en seil weg, so vinnig ek kon nie ‘n foto inkry nie! Ek wonder nou nog wat die ding laat omdraai het. Ek was hoogs ontsteld. Ek’t hier rondgevra en mense het gesΓͺ dis ‘n boomslang, maar jou fotos is duidelik soos die een wat ek hier gesien het.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Dit is maar altyd beter om bang Jan as dooie Jan te wees (solank mens net nie die slang doodmaak nie!) maar dat hierdie outjies vreeslik vinnig en rats is is gewis, en dit kon beslis een van hulle gewees het.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Die enigste groen slange wat ek ken (en ek is kleurblind moet ek byse) hier by ons wat regtig dodelik is, is die boomslang en die groen mamba. Maar dis altyd beter om veilig te speel en jou afstand te hou!

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Far too many people, and not only South Africans, still believe that the only good snake is a dead snake. Fact is that they’re even more scared of us than we are of them, which made our encounter with this relaxed individual such a special treat!

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      1. colonialist

        The only ones I am most wary of are the puff adders β€” too laid-back to get out of one’s way until trodden upon in a path β€” and very big adult black mambas, which tend to become uppity and aggressive.

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        1. de Wets Wild Post author

          Quite right – those mambas can become extremely dangerous especially when cornered. And those puff-adders, despite being so loath to move out of the way, are amongst the fastest strikers of any snakes. And if either of them hits the target you’re in serious trouble. Luckily no such qualms with these green beauties!

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