Reptiles of South Africa

© Roger de la Harpe
Reptiles of South Africa - Tree Agama.

South Africa’s unique biodiversity allows for over 350 species of reptiles to thrive in the country. Reptiles are cold-blooded creatures who enjoy the South African sun and prosper in various regions of the country.

South Africa is home to the richest diversity of lizards, snakes, crocodiles, tortoises, chameleons, and turtles on the African continent.

South Africa Online ® explains the life and times of the large variety of indigenous reptiles of the country in 11 official languages, providing descriptive information on their habitat, feeding and appearance.

African Rock Python

The African Rock Python is the largest snake in Africa. The body is covered in grey-green to brown scales, covered with black edged bars and...more

Black Mamba

The black mamba of South Africa is covered in grey to green gunmetal scales, which are smooth, with a pale-green underbelly. They have a dis...more


The boomslang has large eyes with round pupils, that dominate the distinct head. This is a large snake whose scales can range from bright gr...more

Brown House Snake

The brown house snake is distinguished by its uniform brown-reddish scales that turn darker as it gets older. It also has two yellow streaks...more

Cape Wolf Snake

They are found throughout the African subcontinent except for the Namib Desert. The Cape wolf snake is distributed throughout South Africa, ...more

Flap-necked Chameleon

The flap-neck chameleon is characterised by its large continuous crest containing small white, triangular tubercles that stem from the throa...more

Giant Plated Lizard

The giant plated lizard of South Africa has a flat head and body. Adults display a dark brown to black colour, with an off-white throat and ...more

Leopard Tortoise

The leopard tortoise lays between 6-15 large shelled eggs in a hole dug by the female. Which she refills and using her belly tramps down the...more

Nile Crocodile

Crocodiles have been observed to use cooperative feeding behaviour, whereby a number feed together each holding onto the carcass whilst twis...more

Olive Grass Snake

The olive grass snake is found along the coastal regions in South Africa, mainly in Northern KwaZulu-Natal....more

Ornate Sandveld Lizard

The ornate sandveld lizard is found through Swaziland over the Lebombo Mountains into Northern Zululand and Mpumalanga and into Northern Gau...more

Puff Adder

The puff adder of South Africa is a large snake with yellow-brown to light brown colour adorned with black pale edged chevrons dorsally and ...more

Rainbow Skink

The rainbow skink can be found in South Africa in KwaZulu-Natal and throughout the Lowveld. They can also be found from Zimbabwe to Algeria ...more

Rhombic Egg Eater

The rhombic egg-eater only feeds on eggs. Its mouth is lined with ridges which aid the swallowing of the egg. Once the contents of the egg h...more

Serrated Hinged Terrapin

The serrated hinged terrapin can be found in South Africa in region of Zululand, as well as in tropical East Africa and along the Zambezi Ri...more

Snouted Cobra

The snouted cobra venom is a potent mix of neurotoxic and cytotoxic cocktail, which results in tissue damage at the bite site and severe neu...more

Southern Tree Agama

The southern tree agama can be found in South Africa on the coast of KwaZulu-Natal. It can also be found in Lobatse in Eastern Botswana, Ova...more

Spekes Hinged Tortoise

Males and females measure 140 to 160 mm in length, this tortoise is medium in size. The shell of a young Speke’s hinged-back tortoise has ...more

Spotted Bush Snake

The spotted bush snake can be found in the northern areas of South Africa, stretching into the Kalahari and Northern Cape. To the east, it o...more

Spotted Sandveld Lizard

Male and female spotted sandveld lizards measure 80 to 90 mm in length. This large lizard has a spotted back and an orange-brown tail. It is...more

Spotted Thick Toed Gecko

Male spotted thick-toed geckos measure 48mm in length, whereas females are 58mm. They are tiny, gentle creatures with fat bodies and rounded...more

Striped Skink

The striped skink is medium sized, both males and females measuring 60 to 90 mm. Their body colour differs between subspecies. They have a t...more

Sundevalls Writhing Skink

The Sundevall’s writhing skink can be found in South Africa in the Kalahari Gemsbok Park. It occurs in Angola and Somalia, as well as in t...more

Variable Skink

In South Africa, the variable skink can be found in the southern regions of the Eastern Cape. To the west of the continent, they occur in Na...more

Vine Snake

Female southern vine snakes are 975 mm in length, whereas males measure 1062 mm. Its body is very thin and its tail long. The head is spear-...more

Wahlberg's Velvet Gecko

The Wahlberg's velvet gecko can be found in South Africa in Zululand and Limpopo. It also occurs in southern Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Easter...more

White-Throated Monitor

Male and female white-throated monitors are 400 to 500 mm. It is a very large and stocky lizard with strong claws and limbs. It is a dark gr...more