Summary details for Prosymna visseri

If you are unsure of the identification of a snake you have observed, you can ask an expert for snake identification by uploading a photo to the Snakes of Namibia facebook page.

You can also get help from their amazing album of infographics of the common snake species in Namibia.

The facebook page also has contact details for snake catchers - people who are experienced in catching and removing snakes - throughout the country.

In the case of a snake bite, email "snakebite" to Namibia's snakebite expert - Dr Buys - will respond immediately.


Visser's Shovel-snout

Prosymna visseri

Shovel Snouts are secretive snakes which are mostly encountered during rainy season when they emerge to forage. Shovel Snouts feed exclusively feed on reptile eggs. The egg is swallowed whole and a blade-like modification on the rear maxillary tooth is used to slice open the egg. The content is swallowed first followed by the collapsed shell.
Colours can vary but they can be easily identified by their short cylindrical bodies and pointed snouts which may resemble a shovel. They rarely exceed 40cm in length.
When threatened these snakes will coil and uncoil vigorously and in some cases omit foul swelling odour to deter a predator.

Visser's Shovel-snout
Visser's Shovel-snout © Photo: African Snakebite Institute

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