Venomous Or Not

Asked February 21, 2016, 10:51 AM EST

I caught a small brown snake and I am wondering if it is venomous.

Outside United States

3 Responses

It's a species of House Snake (genus Lamprophis), and it's not venomous. In fact, House Snakes are immune to the venom of many venomous snakes and prey upon them. Are you in Africa somewhere? If you can tell me the country, I can narrow it down for you.

Hey. I am in the Northen Cape, South-Africa. thanks for the help

You bet. That means it's a Cape House Snake (Boaedon capensis; I know I said the genus was Lamprophis but that genus has been split into several recently, including Boaedon).

I've posted your photo to a very helpful Facebook group:

If you're on Facebook, that's a much quicker way to crowd-source a snake ID, and I highly recommend you join it.

Good general resources on snakes in southern Africa include:

Marais, J. 1992. A complete guide to the snakes of southern Africa. Southern Book Publishers of South Africa.

Marais, J. 2014. Snakes and Snake Bite in Southern Africa. Penguin Random House South Africa.

If you want to know more about House Snake taxonomy:

Kelly, C. M. R., W. R. Branch, D. G. Broadley, N. P. Barker, and M. H. Villet. 2011. Molecular systematics of the African snake family Lamprophiidae Fitzinger, 1843 (Serpentes: Elapoidea), with particular focus on the genera Lamprophis Fitzinger 1843 and Mehelya Csiki 1903. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 58:415-426.

available here: