Project Description

The spectacular and agile Western Stripe-bellied Sand Snake Psammophis subtaeniatus are often claimed to be the fastest-moving of southern Africa’s snake species. In fact when we first encountered this individual, it moved through the grass tufts and rocky rubble so rapidly that it seemed to disappear while you were watching it, only to reappear a few meters further. We would definitely not have been able to catch it if it had not chosen to retire beneath an isolated rock that we could surround to prevent it escaping. Once captured though, it was remarkably calm and posed beautifully for pictures before it was released, safe and unharmed. Even little Christian enjoyed the close-up views of this beautiful snake – suggesting to me that fear of snakes is not inborn in infants, but inherited culturally.