Philothamnus semivariegatus

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Philothamnus semivariegatus
Philothamnus semivariegatus, Soutpansberg, South Africa..JPG
Philothamnus semivariegatus, Soutpansberg, South Africa
Philothamnus semivariegatus03.jpg
Spotted Bush Snake hatchlings
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Philothamnus
P. semivariegatus
Binomial name
Philothamnus semivariegatus
(A. Smith, 1840)
  • Dendrophis (Philothamnus) semivariegata A. Smith, 1840
  • Ahætulla semivariegata
    Günther, 1863
  • Philothamnus semivariegatus
    Boulenger, 1894[1]

Philothamnus semivariegatus, commonly known as the spotted bush snake is a species of non-venomous colubrid snake, endemic to Africa.

Geographic range[edit]

P. semivariegatus is distributed from South Africa northward to Sudan, Uganda and from Guinea eastward to Tanzania and sited at Nigeria.[2]


The colour is bright green with black speckles. Average snout to vent length (SVL) is 60–90 cm (24–35 in).


Spotted bush snakes are mostly found in trees in bush and forest areas, where they hunt lizards and treefrogs. They are excellent climbers and swimmers, have very good eyesight, and are highly alert snakes. They are not territorial, and will roam great distances in search for food. Spotted bush snakes are very common and completely harmless. They are well camouflaged, naturally very nervous, and quick to escape from any potential threat. As such, suburban sightings are rare.

In captivity[edit]

They can be very difficult to keep in captivity, being very nervous and reluctant to feed on anything but sympatric gecko species, but they are occasionally kept and bred successfully. [3]


Females can lay between 3 and 12 elongate eggs every summer, and each hatchling is about 25 cm (9.8 in) in total length (including tail).


  1. ^ Boulenger GA. 1894. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume II., Containing the Conclusion of the Colubridæ Aglyphæ. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xi + 382 pp. + Plates I- XX. (Philothamnus semivariegatus, pp. 99-100).
  2. ^ The Reptile Database.
  3. ^ "Notes on the captive care of African Bush Snakes".

Further reading[edit]

  • Branch, Bill. 2004. Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Sanibel Island, Florida: Ralph Curtis Books. 399 pp. ISBN 0-88359-042-5. (Philothamnus semivariegatus, pp. 93–94 + Plates 30, 99).
  • Smith, Andrew. 1840. Illustrations of the Zoology of South Africa ... London: Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury. (Smith, Elder and Co., printers). (Dendrophis semivariegata, Plates LIX, LX, LXIV, Figure 1).