8 Largest Snakes in Africa

Largest Snakes In Africa
Photo by Arcaion

Snakes are one of the world’s most vicious and feared animals. These snakes, either venomous or not, come in different sizes. 

This article discusses some of the largest snakes in Africa.

RankNameBotanical NameFeet
1African Rock PythonPython Sebea20 ft
2Black MambaDendroaspis Polytepis15 ft
3Egyptian CobraNaja Haje8 ft
4Green MambaDendroaspis Angusticeps7 ft
5Black-neck Spitting CobraNaja Nigricollis7 ft
6Gaboon ViperBitis Gabonica5 ft
7Boomslang Dispholidus Typus6 ft
8Cape CobraNaja Nivea6 Feet

African Rock Python

The African rock python, also known as Python Sebae, is the largest and longest snake in Africa. It’s not only one of the largest snakes in Africa, but also one of the largest in the world. The serpent can be found in Senegal, Ethiopia, Uganda, south of Namibia, and South Africa. 

Unlike snakes that can only survive in some specific areas, this doesn’t apply to the African rock python. It can survive in any habitat, either in the desert, rocky, or swampy areas. This large snake is a pretty good swimmer – it sometimes stays underwater to observe and hunt for prey that comes to the river to drink.

You can identify an African rock python by its skin combination of grey, bronze, and brown color. They also have irregular spots ranging from bright yellow to dark brown. The serpent has a triangular-shaped head, and its body is all scaled smoothly. 

Another distinguishing fact about the African rock python is its sets of triangular marks around its eyes. These marks are used to differentiate it from other snakes. 

This big reptile can swallow a human whole, but not very often. While this bad boy isn’t venomous, it mostly feeds on big cats, rodents, antelopes, guinea pigs, and crocodiles. It doesn’t have fangs but has developed a unique hunting technique. The serpent ambushes its prey, strikes, and uses its strength to squeeze it till it’s out of breath.

Humans hunt these animals for meat, fat, and skin to make leather. Other animals don’t really prey on it due to its size, but during digestion, they are easy targets for large dogs and hyenas.

The African rock python is not advised to be kept as pets because they are not easily tamed. It is a vicious animal and can eat humans if they are hungry. Simply put, leave them in the wild!

Black Mamba

Black mamba, also called Dendroaspis Polylepis, is the second amongst the largest snakes in Africa. The “black” refers to the color of the inside of its mouth. It is known for its size and swiftness and can be ruthless and very aggressive. 

Unlike the African rock python, the black mamba has very vicious venom. When it wants to attack, it stands tall and attacks. 

The black mamba belongs to the family of cobras. It has three species, the Western mamba, the Green mamba, and Jameson’s mamba. These other species are always seen on tree branches and are hard to spot because of their green-colored skin. 

However, the black mamba has been contradicted because of its name. The black mamba’s skin color varies from grey to dark brown. They are mostly seen in deserts, forests, savannas, and grasslands. 

Black mambas are commonly found in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. This means the food chain has no respect for any animal, even if it’s one of the largest snakes in Africa. 

Don’t be surprised that the second largest snake in Africa mostly feeds on birds, bats, rodents, bush babies, and lizards. The black mamba is also a delicious meal for brown snake eagles, martial eagles, and tawny eagles.

If you notice this snake around you, one piece of advice, run!

Egyptian Cobra

Egyptian Cobra is the third of the largest snakes in Africa and still maintains its position as the most vicious snake in Africa. Its botanical name is Naja Haje. This dangerous beast can be seen around the desert area and grassland in the Northern part of Africa and the Middle East. 

It usually lives and shades in burrows made by other animals, rock outcrops, and termite mounds. It is sometimes seen around the sea area cooling off and relaxing in the sun in the early mornings. 

This enormous snake can only endure warm temperatures, which explains why it spends most of its time sun-tanning. It is also sometimes seen around people’s homes where there are a lot of rats.

The Egyptian cobra, also known as the Egyptian asp, preys on mammals, rodents, and domestic chickens; it even feeds on other snakes, but it would prefer to feed on toads. Amazingly, the Egyptian cobra is also prey to animals like raptors and mongooses.

Are you thinking of having the Egyptian cobra as a buddy? Please, have a rethink.

Green Mamba

The green mamba, a.k.a. Dendroaspis Angusticeps, is the fourth on the list of the largest snakes in Africa. They are found around Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Eastern Zimbabwe, and Southern Malawi. The Green mamba is mostly seen on mango, cashew, and coconut trees, unlike its cousin. This Black mamba prefers to be on shallow grounds.

The green mamba has a slim body, smooth scales, and a small coffin-shaped head. This serpent is very venomous. It has short fangs in the front of its mouth. 

If you are curious about what this creepy crawler eats, know that it includes a variety of other animals. The Green mamba feeds on eggs, birds, frogs, lizards, rats, rodents, squirrels, and other small mammals. 

The male green mamba always competes with themselves for the female, either by dancing or wrestling. Even though they dont bite each other, the mating ritual can last for hours. Typically, females can lay 4 to 16 eggs. 

Meanwhile, when the Green mamba feels threatened, it flees but will strike back when it is cornered. Black-headed herons and birds of prey hunt this animal for food, while humans use its beautiful skin to make leather.

Wondering if you can keep this beautiful snake as a pet? The answer is no! If you consider its extremely toxic venom, the Green mamba should be avoided if you don’t want to put your life in danger.

Black-necked Spitting Cobra

Black-necked spitting cobra, which is also called Naja Nigricollis, is the fifth largest snake in Africa. They are mostly found in Sub-Saharan, Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia, Congo, Sierra Leone, and Zambia. 

Some species are black or pale grey, with a yellow or reddish front and a broad, black neckband depending on the region.

Despite its name, it does not really spit venom; it shoots its venom through its fangs. It targets the eyes of its attacker in particular. Its venom can cause permanent blindness if it is not washed off immediately. 

Naja Nigricollis feeds on small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians (frogs, nets, toads, etc.). Their favorite place to hide is the central part of a tree, the tree trunk. Its main threats are the snake eagle and raptors.

The Black-necked spitting cobra doesn’t really pose a threat, but it is not advisable to keep as a pet.

Gaboon Viper

This snake is the sixth largest snake in Africa and the largest viper. It is also scientifically known as Bitis Gabonica. 

The Gaboon viper is an extremely vicious and the most venomous snake in Africa. It has the longest fangs of all the species of snakes. In addition, this snake has two horns on its wide, leaf-shaped head and a chunky body.

Gaboon viper is found around Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Cameroon, Guinea, Mozambique, and Eastern zimbabwe; they also live around the rainforest and near woodlands.

Unlike other snakes, this creature is very gentle. When carefully handled, it doesn’t bite or hiss. They hunt by ambush at night, and it takes them hours to hunt for their prey. Usually, vipers feed on mammals, rodents, rabbits, and various birds. 

This serpent is beautifully colored in pink, dark and light brown, yellow, purple, silver, and black. Because of their skin color, they can hide among the leaves on the forest floor.

Unlike other snakes, the Gaboon viper gives birth to babies, not eggs. They gave birth to more than 40 babies.

Shockingly, the Gaboon viper has no predator. I guess even the most vicious snake eater is scared of having a 2-inches fang piercing through its skin.

This brings us to the conclusion that the Gaboon viper shouldn’t be kept as a pet, even with its gentle nature. It is still very dangerous.

Boomslang

The boomslang is the seventh largest snake in Africa. Even though it isn’t the largest snake in Africa, it appears to be very large for a tree snake. It has the most potent venom of its species. 

These snakes are found around the Northern hemisphere through the sub-Sahara, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Swaziland. The Boomslang (Dispholidus Typus) can be identified by its brown or bright green color with black markings.

Unlike other venomous snakes, this tree snake has fangs at the back of its jaw instead of the front. It has to open its mouth wide to strike its prey. Sometimes, the boomslang hides under a lying tree for shelter or to hunt for food. They sometimes find a good spot in trees to give their prey a surprise attack and then strike suddenly. 

Boomslang feeds primarily on small mammals, reptiles, frogs, birds, and even bird eggs. Even as frightening as they are, they are easy targets for ospreys, falcons, and kestrels. 

A Boomslang is unsuitable to be kept as a pet. 

Cape Cobra

Naja Nivea, known as the yellow snake, is one of the largest snakes in Africa. It is one of the most vicious and smallest in the cobra family and inhabits a wide habitat across Southern Africa. 

Its coloring varies greatly from yellow to golden-brown, dark brown, and black. Although colors and markings depend on geographical location, it is possible to see almost all color varieties in one location. Individuals also exhibit varying degrees of black or pale stippling and blotches.

Typically, the throat of juveniles is noticeably dark and extends down the belly for about a dozen ventral scales. Young Cape cobras are frequently mistaken for Rinkhals spitting cobras because of their skin color. However, it fades over the course of the first year or two of life.

These crawling creatures do well to help themselves to meals that include rodents, lizards, birds, and other snakes, and even eat the young ones of their own kind. However, this doesn’t imply that animals like honey badgers, mongooses, and birds of prey do find Cape Cobras delicious.

Take Away

As terrifying as these snakes are, they are one of the most beautiful creatures on earth. If you aren’t ophidiophobic, you can take some time to visit the zoo to view them from a safe distance. 

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