Africa Reptiles Guide

Photograph of crocodiles.
Picture Gallery

Wahlbergs Velvet Gecko

A large Wahlbergs Velvet Gecko. The back is light to dark grey-brown, usually with irregular pale and dark crossbars, and...
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Variable Skink

A medium-sized Variable Skink with a rounded snout and a window in each lower lid. Colouration is variable; the back may be blackish, olive, pale brown or red-brown, with or without black spots...
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Vine Snake

This extremely thin snake has a lance-shaped head and large eyes with keyhole-shaped pupils. The body scales of a Vine Snake are feebly keeled, in 19 oblique rows at midbody. The tail is very long...
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Striped Skink

This medium-sized Striped Skink has a window in each of the lower eyelids. The ear openings are lobed. Colouration differs between the subspecies...
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Spotted Thick Toed Gecko

A Spotted Thick Toed Gecko is a small, gentle gecko with a fat body and a rounded snout. The back is grey to greyish-brown, with 4 rows of elongated, blackish spots that are not white-edged and occasionally fuse into irregular...
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Spekes Hinged Tortoise

A medium-sized tortoise with a smooth, depressed carapace with a well developed hinge. The shell of a juvenile Spekes Hinged Tortoise has a zonary pattern with concentric light and dark zones...
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Southern Tree Agama

A Southern Tree Agama is a very large agama with a broad head. Breeding males have a dull blue to bluish back, with bright blue (anteriorly) to straw-yellow (posteriorly) spines and a bright cobalt-blue head...
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Serrated Hinged Terrapin

The largest hinged terrapin is the Serrated Hinged Terrapin. The carapace and bridge are uniform black in colour. The plastron is yellow-centered, with a sharply defined, black, angular pattern around the edge...
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Rough scaled Plated Lizard

A large, stout lizard, with a short head and large eyes. The Rough scaled Plated Lizard's back is straw- coloured to light brown. The chin and throat are light straw to cream, and the belly is smoky-grey to light brown...
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Puff Adder

The thick, heavily built Puff Adder has a large, flattened, triangular head and large nostrils which point vertically upwards. The body is yellow-brown to light brown, with black, pale-edged chevrons...
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Pan Hinged Terrapin

A small Pan Hinged Terrapin with a rounded, smooth shell and a small plastral hinge; no axillary. The head is large, with a blunt snout and smooth beak; there are usually 2 tentacles under the chin...
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Ornate Sandveld Lizard

A large Ornate Sandveld Lizard with a blotched pattern in adults. Juveniles are blackish-brown on the back with 3 white longitudinal stripes. Adults are brown dorsally with irregular black blotches...
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Olive Grass Snake

An Olive Grass Snake is a large, robust snake with a non-flattened snout and a long tail. The back is olive-brown (paler towards the tail), sometimes with black-edged scales, forming thin black lines or with scattered...
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Leopard Tortoise

A Leopard Tortoise may exceed 700 mm in length and 40 kg in weight. The carapace is domed and not hinged, with scutes only faintly raised. The nuchal is absent. The beak is sometimes hooked...
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Red Lipped Snake

A small snake with a broad, obvious head and a short tail. The scales are in 19 rows at midbody and are dull; the head is iridescent when the skin is freshly shed. The back of the Red Lipped Snake is olive...
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Giant Plated Lizard

A large lizard with a flattened head and body, an adult Giant Plated Lizard's back is dark brown to black. The throat is dirty white, and the belly is light brown. Juveniles are black...
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Flap Neck Chameleon

A large chameleon with a continuous crest of small, white, triangular tubercles on the throat and belly. The Flap Neck Chameleon's colouration varies, from pale yellow through green shades to brown. The belly crest...
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Rainbow Skink

A large, beautifully coloured skink with a small, transparent window in each lower eyelid. The relatively long forelimbs and hind limbs overlap when pressed against the body. The colouration of the Rainbow Skink is varied, depending on its sex and age...
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Cape Wolf Snake

A small snake that grows larger in the southern part of its range, the Cape Wolf Snake has a flattened head. Colouration is usually uniform dark brown to black, sometimes with each scale white-tipped...
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Brown House Snake

A large Brown House Snake has an obvious head and small body scales. It is uniform red-brown in colour. Large, old snakes are darker, almost black. There are 2 pale yellow streaks on the side of the head...
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Boomslang

A large snake with a distinct head, and very large eyes with round pupils. Colouration of the Boomslang is very variable. They may be leaf-green, bright green or black with dark grey, black-edged belly scales, or brick-red to rust-red...
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Black Lined Plated Lizard

A large, thick-bodied Black Lined Plated Lizard has a large, robust head. The back is reddish-brown with well-defined, black-edged, yellow dorsolateral stripes, and often with yellow streaks down the backbone...
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Black Mamba

A large, streamlined snake with a narrow, coffin-shaped head and smooth scales. The back is uniform gunmetal to olive-brown but, despite its name, a Black Mamba is never really black. The belly is pale grey-green, sometimes...
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African Rock Python

Africa's largest snake is the African Rock Python. There is a large spearhead mark on the crown of the head; dark and light bands radiating from eye to lip. The body is grey-green/-brown, with dark-brown, black-edged bars and blotches on top...
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Crocodile

Given the wide distribution range, a number of population differences between Crocodiles have been observed, and several subspecies proposed. These are rarely differentiated in the literature, however, and they are...
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