The common egg-eating snake is one of five species of egg-eating snake in Africa. They have a long, slender body which is grey or reddish-brown in color. This is patterned with darker, angular patterns.
Their head ends with a rounded snout. It is highly flexible to allow the snake to swallow eggs, their main food source.
Due to their diet of eggs they are one of the few snakes which do not have any teeth.
Their body measures between 50 and 90cm (20-36in) long. This species has a maximum weight of 0.5kg (1lb).
The common egg-eating snake feeds exclusively on eggs. These may be up to three times the size of their head.
As such they ingest a large quantity of food during the breeding season of birds and fast for the remainder of the year.
Snakes test eggs with their tongue to determine that they are fresh as they can not digest rotten eggs or bird fetuses.
Once the egg is inside their mouth they pierce it with the tooth like structures at the back of their mouth.
Only the egg white and yolk is digested while the shell is crushed up and regurgitated as it cannot be digested.
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Africa is the native home of the common egg-eating snake. Here they can be found in Angola; Botswana; Burundi; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Egypt; Eritrea; Eswatini; Ethiopia; Kenya; Lesotho; Malawi; Mali; Mozambique; Namibia; Rwanda; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan and Tanzania.
Further study on this species is needed to clarify the exact range of them and the other snakes within their genus.
These snakes are primarily found on savannas but may also make use of forest, shrubland and semi-desert.
Each year a female will lay between six and 25 eggs.
Common egg-eating snakes are primarily active by night. During the day they will seek shelter in a log or under a rock. They will emerge at night to feed.
These snakes are adept climbers which helps them to reach the nests of birds.
Predators and Threats
To defend themselves against predators they will mimic a saw-scaled viper by rubbing together keeled scales to produce a raspy hissing sound.
These snakes are non-venomous.
Common egg-eating snakes are threatened by collection for the pet trade and habitat loss due to the expansion of agriculture.
They may also be known as the African egg-eating snake or the Rhombic egg-eating snake.
I, Wildfeuer, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Middle Two and Bottom
Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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