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Striped house snake, Boaedon lineatus.
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Lamprophiidae
Subfamily: Lamprophiinae
Genus: Boaedon

13 recognized species, see article.

Boaedon is a genus of African lamprophiids consisting of the "brown" house snakes. The genus was originally described by Duméril but the species contained were reclassified as Lamprophis by Fitzinger in 1843, this taxonomy remained widely accepted until November 2010 when a phylogenetic study was published by Kelly, C.M.R et al. who resurrected the Boaedon clade.[1] Although commonly regarded as belonging to the Colubridae, primary literature usually lists them, and related species, as belonging to the family Lamprophiidae within the superfamily which includes the venomous cobras and mambas, Elapoidea.[1] In 2015, a new species was described and a further added to the genus.[2]


Undescribed Species[edit]

Archetypal Appearance[edit]

All members of the genus Boaedon are small snakes, generally attaining lengths of little more than 4 feet (120 cm) in length. Sexually dimorphic, females are always larger than males who attain lengths of approx. 2 feet (60 cm) there is some variance between species and between geographic locales of species.

Adult female "patternless" Boaedon capensis

Overall body colouration is typically sandy brown to black but green, orange, red and a variety of other locale specific variations do exist. All species are nocturnal by nature and present with vertically elliptic pupils, they also present with few exceptions a v-shaped set of stripes stretching from the rostral scale through the eye to the rear of the head. Body pattern varies between species, B. olivaceus, B. upembae, B. mentalis, & B. fuliginosus are all naturally pattern less, B. capensis & B. maculatus both have patternless variants and B. lineatus typically has lateral striping running the length of the body. These are highly variable snakes and confusion is common when attempting to distinguish them from one another.

Geographic Range[edit]

House snakes occur in all of sub-Saharan Africa, inhabiting dense forests and deserts as well as all other habitats in between. They are commonly found around towns where they will feast on the rodents which gather there.



  1. ^ a b Kelly, C.M.R., et al. Molecular systematics of the African snake family Lamprophiidae, Fitzinger, 1843 (Serpentes: Elapoidea), with particular focus on the genera Lamprophis, Fitzinger 1843 and Mehelya, Csiki 1903. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. (2010), doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.11.010
  2. ^ Greenbaum, E., Portillo, F., Jackson, K., & Kusamba, C. 2015. A phylogeny of Central African Boaedon (Serpentes: Lamprophiidae), with the description of a new cryptic species from the Albertine Rift. African Journal of Herpetology, 64(1):18-38 doi:10.1080/21564574.2014.996189