African Egg Eating Snake

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Is the African Egg Eating Snake right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Common Egg Eater, Rhombic Egg Eating Snake

Scientific name: Dasypeltis scabra

The basics:
The African Egg Eating Snake is one of Africa’s most widespread snakes, but, being nocturnal, it remains largely unseen. It is found throughout the entire eastern half of the African Continent, from Egypt to South Africa, and also occurs in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Ten related species inhabit the rest of Africa. One of these, the East African Egg Eating Snake (D. medici medici) also appears in the pet trade. The African Egg Eating Snake frequents wooded grasslands, thorn scrub, open woodlands, and parks. It usually hunts above-ground, and often shelters in bird nests after feeding.

Appearance / health:
As an adaptation to an egg-only diet, the African Egg Eater is virtually toothless. However, it closely mimics the venomous Saw Scaled Viper in coloration and behavior, and is thus well-protected. In areas where the viper does not occur, African Egg Eating Snakes are not left defenseless – amazingly, those populations resemble the venomous Night Adder!

The African Egg Eater averages a 24-30 inches in length, but may reach 42 inches, and is slender in build. It is clad in various shades of brown grey or tan, usually with an attractive pink or reddish hue. A chain-like pattern of varying black marks runs along the back. The scales are keeled (raised a bit), and when rubbed together produce an imitation of the Saw Scaled Viper’s warning.

Behavior / temperament:
African Egg Eaters tend to be high-strung, and do not take well to handling. They may calm down in time, but are best considered as animals to observe rather than handle.

African Egg Eaters can be kept in an aquarium of 15-20 gallons in size. Most prefer to shelter below the substrate, so cypress mulch is preferable to newspapers as a substrate. A cave or other hide-away and stout climbing branches should also be provided. The tank’s screen lid must be secured by cage clips. Ambient temperature: 75-82 F; Basking temperature: 86-88 F. As this snake is nocturnal, red or black reptile night bulbs are ideal.

Fecal material should be removed regularly. The terrarium should be misted daily and thoroughly cleaned each 2-4 weeks. Most are wild-caught, so newly-acquired pets should be examined by a veterinarian.

Feeding is the most challenging aspect of African Egg Eater care. The natural diet is comprised entirely of bird eggs (as might be expected!). Wild-caught individuals often refuse commercially-available eggs. Thirty elongated projections of the vertebrae hold, pierce and crack the shell, which is then regurgitated. Coturnix quail eggs, available as a “specialty item” in many supermarkets, are a good size for most individuals. The eggs of button quail, ring-necked doves, parakeets and zebra finches may also be offered. As these birds often over-produce in captivity, their eggs may be available from pet stores or breeders. Rubbing the egg-shell on bird feathers or smearing it with yolk may encourage feeding. A water bowl should be available.

As captive breeding is rare, pet owners have a great opportunity to discover important new information; be sure to share what you learn! A short cooling off period and reduced light cycle may encourage breeding. Females produce up to 18 eggs, and the hatchlings average 7-10 inches in length. In contrast to most snakes, the eggs are deposited in several locations, not together.

Written by Frank Indiviglio


interesting snake pet, interesting snake


feeding, quality calcium supplement, right size eggs


dove eggs, Chinese quail

African Egg Eating Snake Health Tip

African Egg Eating Snake

From RobWedderburn Sep 25 2015 4:51PM


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