13 Common Types of Snakes Found in Angola

In “13 Common Types of Snakes Found in Angola,” the article serves as a comprehensive guide to familiarize readers with the diverse snake species inhabiting Angola. From venomous predators such as the Puff Adder, Boomslang, Black Mamba, Gaboon Viper, and Forest Cobra to large non-venomous constrictors like the Southern African Python and Central African Rock Python, each snake is meticulously described, highlighting their distinguishing physical traits. While the Red-lipped Snake and Olive Whip Snake are relatively harmless to humans, it is crucial to understand the habitats and behaviors of these reptiles, as well as the potential dangers they may pose. Emphasizing the importance of immediate medical attention after a snake bite, this article aims to arm readers with vital knowledge to coexist safely with these captivating creatures.

Venomous Snakes

Puff Adder

The Puff Adder is one of the most common and dangerous venomous snakes found in Angola. It has a thick body with a triangular-shaped head, and its coloration varies from pale brown to reddish-brown, with a distinct pattern of dark, zigzag markings. This species is responsible for a significant number of snakebite fatalities in the region. Puff Adders are known for their aggressive nature and will strike without hesitation if they feel threatened.


The Boomslang is a highly venomous snake known for its vibrant green coloration, which allows it to blend in with its surroundings. This species can be found in various habitats, including forests, savannas, and gardens. The Boomslang possesses potent venom that affects the blood clotting mechanism, making it particularly dangerous. Despite being venomous, the Boomslang is relatively shy and will usually try to escape rather than confront humans.

Black Mamba

Considered one of the deadliest snakes in the world, the Black Mamba is an infamous venomous snake found in Angola. It gets its name from the black coloration of the inside of its mouth, which it displays as a warning sign when threatened. The Black Mamba is the largest venomous snake in Africa, reaching lengths of up to 14 feet. Its venom contains neurotoxins that can quickly lead to respiratory failure, making immediate medical attention crucial in the event of a bite.

Gaboon Viper

The Gaboon Viper is a stout-bodied snake with a large, triangular-shaped head adorned with large, horn-like scales. It is known for its incredible camouflage, as its scales resemble fallen leaves, making it nearly invisible in its natural habitat of forests and grasslands. The Gaboon Viper possesses the longest fangs of any venomous snake in the world, capable of delivering a potent venom. Despite its venomous nature, it is generally a non-aggressive species and will typically only strike if provoked.

Forest Cobra

The Forest Cobra, also known as the Black Cobra, is a highly venomous snake found in the rainforests and wooded areas of Angola. It is characterized by its glossy black coloration and slender body. The Forest Cobra can grow up to 10 feet long and possesses a potent neurotoxic venom that affects the nervous system, causing paralysis and, if left untreated, death. This species is generally non-confrontational and will try to escape when encountered by humans.

Non-venomous Snakes

Southern African Python

The Southern African Python, also known as the Natal Rock Python, is a large non-venomous snake that can grow up to 16 feet in length. It is characterized by its patterned scales, which range from light brown to dark brown, providing excellent camouflage in its natural habitat. This Python primarily preys on rodents and small mammals by constricting them until they suffocate. Despite its size, the Southern African Python rarely poses a threat to humans unless provoked or cornered.

Central African Rock Python

Similar to its Southern African counterpart, the Central African Rock Python is another large non-venomous snake found in Angola. This species can reach lengths of up to 20 feet and is known for its impressive strength and powerful constricting abilities. The Central African Rock Python has a beautiful pattern of brown and dark brown scales, which helps it blend in with its surroundings. Despite being non-venomous, it is essential to exercise caution and respect when encountering this Python, as it can inflict serious injuries through constriction.

Relatively Harmless Snakes

Red-lipped Snake

The Red-lipped Snake is a harmless snake commonly found in Angola. It has a slender body and distinctive red coloring on its lower lip, giving it its name. This species can vary in color, ranging from light brown to olive green. Red-lipped Snakes are commonly found in forests and grasslands, where they feed on small reptiles and amphibians. Although they are non-venomous and generally docile, it is always wise to avoid handling any wild snake without proper knowledge and experience.

Olive Whip Snake

The Olive Whip Snake is another relatively harmless snake inhabiting Angola’s diverse ecosystems. This snake is slender and elongated, with a vibrant olive-green color that blends well with the surrounding vegetation. Olive Whip Snakes are skilled climbers and are commonly found in trees and shrubs, where they hunt for small birds, lizards, and rodents. Like most non-venomous snakes, they will typically flee when encountered by humans.

Snake Habitats

Snakes in Angola can be found in a variety of habitats, from arid savannas to lush rainforests. The Puff Adder, Gaboon Viper, and Forest Cobra prefer the dense vegetation and cover provided by the rainforests, while the Boomslang is commonly found in both forests and open areas. The Southern African Python and Central African Rock Python are adaptable and can be found in a range of habitats, including grasslands, forests, and even farmlands. The Red-lipped Snake and Olive Whip Snake are often encountered in forests and grasslands as well.

Snake Behaviors

Each snake species has its own unique behavior patterns. Venomous snakes, such as the Puff Adder and Gaboon Viper, are generally more aggressive in nature and will strike when threatened. Species like the Boomslang and Forest Cobra are typically less confrontational and will try to escape rather than engage with humans. Non-venomous snakes, such as the Southern African Python and Central African Rock Python, are generally non-aggressive, but caution should still be exercised when encountering them. Harmless snakes like the Red-lipped Snake and Olive Whip Snake are generally docile and will usually flee when approached.

Identifying Characteristics

The identifying characteristics of each snake species are crucial for distinguishing between venomous and non-venomous species. Venomous snakes, including the Puff Adder, Boomslang, Black Mamba, Gaboon Viper, and Forest Cobra, often have distinct coloration patterns and specialized physical features, such as triangular heads and large fangs. Non-venomous species, like the Southern African Python and Central African Rock Python, lack these venomous traits but possess other distinguishing features, such as large size and a pattern of scales. Harmless snakes, such as the Red-lipped Snake and Olive Whip Snake, are generally smaller in size and have more subtle coloration.

Potential Dangers

It is essential to understand the potential dangers associated with encountering venomous snakes in Angola. Venomous snakes possess a potent venom that can cause severe tissue damage, organ failure, or even death if left untreated. The venom of snakes like the Black Mamba and Gaboon Viper can have rapid and deadly effects on the human body. While non-venomous and harmless snakes pose less direct danger, it is crucial to exercise caution and avoid handling them unless experienced and knowledgeable.

Seeking Medical Attention

In the event of a snakebite, seeking immediate medical attention is of utmost importance. Regardless of whether the snake is venomous or not, it is essential to receive proper medical evaluation and treatment to minimize potential complications. Venomous snakebites can lead to severe symptoms, such as swelling, pain, difficulty breathing, and altered consciousness. Prompt administration of antivenom, when necessary, can greatly improve the outcome. Therefore, it is crucial to contact emergency medical services and follow their guidance.

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