Bird snake/Vine snake/Twig snake (Thelotornis capensis)
Classification: Very dangerous
Length: 1.2 m to 1.5 m
Occurrence: Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal
The bird snake is perfectly camouflaged and is seldom seen while it is lying dead still, waiting for its prey of lizards, frogs, other snakes and occasionally birds. Bird snakes have different patterns and colour varieties. Colours vary from white to grey with small black dots over its body. As they age, orange markings appear on their heads and the patterns on their bodies become more complex – making them look like branches. The death of world-renowned herpetologist, Robert Wilhelm Mertens, was caused by a bird snake, which he had kept as a pet. There is no anti-venom for the bite of a bird snake.
Interesting fact about the bird snake: The Zulu people believe that this snake’s bite hurts the same as being attacked by a spear, because of the speed of the bite.
Myth about the bird snake: The snake attracts birds with its bright orange tongue. This is, however, not true.