Species of the Week

Get to know more about Thelotornis mossambicanus, one of the most dangerous snakes in Mozambique.

Common Name: Eastern Vine Snake

Scientific Name: Thelotornis mossambicanus

Kingdom: Animalia | Filo: Chordata | Class: Reptília | Order: Squamata | Family: Colubridae | Genus: Thelotornis

Length: adults average 80 cm to 1,2 m


The head is elongated and on the crown is plain green with a dark speckled Y-marking. Both chin and throat are white, speckled with black. Below, light grey speckled and streaked with brownish black. The dorsal body scales are slightly keeled and are not polished. Body ash grey or grey-brown above with darker and lighter blotches and flecks of black, orange and/or pink. On the sides of the neck there are usually 1 or 2 dark blotches.


Vine snakes are arboreal and generally move slowly, relying on their excelente camouflage to escape detection. Although at home in trees, they tend to favour bushes in lowland forest and shrubs in moist savana. Already registered in human dwellings by the Biodinâmica team during their field activities in Mocuba, conter of Mozambique.


Mozambique and eastern Zimbabwe.


Lizards and frogs, while small mammals, fledgling birds and other snakes are also taken.


Oviparous, laying up to 18 eggs.

Danger to man

Like other snakes, the vine snake is very shy and the chance of being bitten is remote.


Dangerously haemotoxic venom that can cause life-threatening symptoms. Bites are rare which is fortunate because at presente there is no vine snake antivenom. Victims must be hospitalized as soon as possible.


Males are known to engage in combat, wrestling with their bodies intertwined.

Vine snake inflates the neck showing the skin colours when confronted.

There is no vine snake antivenom and treatment may require transfusions in serious cases.

Very few vine snake bites have been recorded. Human fatalities are known but are rare.



Alexander, G. and Marais, J. 2007. A Guide to the Reptiles of the Southern Africa. Strunk Nature.

Marais, J. 2004. A Complete Guide to the Snakes of Southern Africa. Strunk Nature.