Mostly small and all harmless. The snakes I have found in my garden in Elston Place, Westville over the last twelve years. The biggest were the skinny Spotted Bush Snake and the skinny Brown Water Snake at about 40 to 50cm; Down to the Black-headed Centipede Eater at about 12cm and the tiny Thread or Worm snake. The only one with real venom was the tiny little Stiletto Snake I wrote about earlier.
The Brown House Snake above was ID’d by Nick Evans our favourite herpetologist. He’ll squeeze mice and swallow them. The snake, not Nick. This one was about 20cm long. He’ll need to seek out baby mice, I’d think.
This Red-lipped Herald Snake (named after the Port Elizabeth newspaper The Herald), below, is tiny – check his size against a credit card! He eats frogs at night. One lives under our outside scullery sink, where some Guttural Toads live. They’re much bigger than him so he better watch out. The one old toad sometimes sits in the outlet pipe so his lies are amplified as he serenades potential lady mates with promises he’ll never keep. He lets the water wash over him, but sometimes it’s hot water and he leaps out of the pipe with an indignant grunt-squeak and a scalded cloaca.
A Black-headed Centipede Eater on an A5-size snake book. Mildly venomous but harmless, he’s only a danger to centipedes.
We see the ‘big’ beautiful slender and harmless green Spotted Bush Snake most often, so its weird I have no pics of him – he’s very nervous and quick. He eats lizards and tree frogs. This Brown Water snake on the patio was spotted by Jess as we came home one night. He’ll eat frogs, fish, mice and nestling birds. No poison, he’s a constrictor. Swims really fast. Much feared by the Zulus in KwaZulu Natal who call him iVuzamanzi and through long generations of folklore believe him to be very dangerous. He’s entirely harmless. Here’s a thought: How do you constrict a fish?
And a gorgeous little Rhombic Night Adder. That’s the bottom of an HTH bucket, so he’s only about 10cm long. Mildly venomous, but harmless to us, he eats tadpoles while he’s little. One day he’ll eat frogs and toads which he smells out at night.
And a tiny little Worm or Thread snake. Not that much thicker than pencil lead, he eats termites:
At our previous home, the largest snake we encountered was a beautiful Natal Black Snake, about 80cm long.