Rufous beaked snake
|Rufous beaked snake - Rhamphiophus oxyrhynchus|
|Specimen from the Prague Zoo|
(J.T. Reinhardt, 1843)
The rufous beaked snake (Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus) is a species of mildly venomous colubrid endemic to East Africa. It is named for its hooked snout, which it uses to dig burrows, and for its reddish-brown back scales. It hunts small animals during the day with the help of its venomous bite.
The rufous beaked snake is large and stout, with males reaching a maximum length of 1.1 m (3.6 ft) and females reaching 1.07 m (3.5 ft). It has a shortened skull, as with all beaked snakes, giving it a clear distinction between its head and body, as well as a dark brown eye stripe running down the side of its head. Its eyes are large with round pupils. While its back tends to be yellowish-brown to reddish-brown, its belly is cream or yellowish-white.
Diurnal animals, rufous beaked snakes hunt small animals, including other snakes, but stay in burrows during the hottest part of the day. In the summer, females lay eight to 17 cylindrical eggs with dimensions of about 36 mm × 21 mm (1.42 in × 0.83 in) over the span of several days. The snake's venom, one of its components of which is a neurotoxin called rufoxin, causes hypotension and circulatory shock in small mammals, but is not dangerous to humans.
- "The Reptile Database". Retrieved 2008-12-03.
- The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
- "Rufous-beaked snake". National Zoological Park. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
- Lumsden NG, Ventura S, Dauer R, Hodgson WC (February 2005). "A biochemical and pharmacological examination of Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus (Rufous beaked snake) venom". Toxicon. 45 (2): 219–31. doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2004.10.010. PMID 15626371.
- Branch, Bill. 2004. Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Third Revised edition, Second Impression. Ralph Curtis Books. Sanibel Island, Florida. 399 pp. ISBN 0-88359-042-5 (Rhamphiophis rostratus, pp. 86-87 & Plate 34)
- Carruthers, Vincent (2005). The Wildlife of Southern Africa: A Field Guide to the Animal and Plants of the Region. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. p. 95. ISBN 1-86872-451-4.
- Branch, Bill (1998). Field Guide Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa (Photographic Field Guides). Cape Town: Struik Publishers. pp. 86–87. ISBN 1-86872-040-3.
- Lumsden NG, Banerjee Y, Kini RM, Kuruppu S, Hodgson WC (March 2007). "Isolation and characterization of rufoxin, a novel protein exhibiting neurotoxicity from venom of the psammophiine, Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus (Rufous beaked snake)". Neuropharmacology. 52 (4): 1065–70. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2006.11.002. PMID 17194464.
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