Size Adults reach an average length of 1.2 m (maximum 1.8 m).
Description A large, thickset snake with a pointed head that has a noticeably long, sharp snout. It has several variations in colour from beige to pitch black. Most Western Cape adult specimens are black. Juveniles are very differently coloured. They have a beige background with a row of brown spots down each side and a wavy dorsal strip and the eyes have a red iris.
Biology This snake is inoffensive, non-venomous and will always attempt to move off if encountered. If cornered and provoked it will hiss and strike and if restrained will attempt to bite. The bite is powerful and the teeth may inflict painful cuts, but this is not serious as there is no venom. This species is a major predator of mice, rats and mole-rats and thus a very useful species to have in agricultural and urban areas. This snake is a good burrower and spends much time underground where it finds its rodent prey. Its sharp snout, smooth scales and powerfully muscled body aid its underground movement. Males engage in combat during the breeding season in spring. It gives birth to live young and sometimes in very large litters of 25-40 and even up to 95. This snake is active above ground during spring and may be relatively common in suitable habitat, i.e., coastal sands with large populations of mole-rats.
Distribution The mole snake is widely distributed throughout southern Africa particularly in the drier, sandy areas.
Distribution in GCBC Probably occurs in the sandy areas of the lower lying Corridor.
Conservation Status Not listed. The Mole Snake is protected under the Western Cape Nature Conservation Act as a protected species (Appendix II). The usefulness of this species needs further promotion.
Threats Habitat destruction due to urbanization, particularly on sandy flats. This species is killed by vehicles on the road, particularly in spring when this snake is active.
Current studies None.