ACTIVE PERIOD: Active mostly at night
KEY ID FEATURES: Grey to light brown with black and brown irregularly shaped spots and occasionally jagged bands
BEHAVIOR: Capable of hissing, rubbing scales to make a scraping sound and false strikes but has no teeth and is harmless
SIZE: Small/Medium - 50-90cm
OTHER: Only eats eggs, can be confused with Rhombic Night Adder, defensive behavior similar to Saw Scaled Viper
QUICK ASSESSMENT 0-10
IMPORTANT: Many snakes have significant variance in coloration and pattern even within the same species. There can also be extreme differences in appearance from juveniles to adults so it is important to never assume you have properly identified a snake.
The Rhombic Egg Eater is easy to identify by its grey to tan color and black and brown irregular shaped spots and dots running the length of its body. Some will display connected jagged bands instead of spots. Almost all will show brown “V” shaped markings on top of the head and a very distinct long slender uniform diameter body with no distinction in size between head and neck. Also common are vertical brown stripes on the upper jaw line. The head is small relative to the body with a blunt nose. Scales are thin and heavily keeled. Brown or gold eyes with vertical pupils. Can occasionally be found in unmarked brown/green coloration as well.
A largely nocturnal species they can also be found at dusk or early morning. Generally docile when observed and will flee deliberately though not terribly quickly when disturbed. Though not poisonous all Rhombic egg eaters are capable of opening their mouth and making false strikes, but they have no teeth and are of no danger. They are also capable of rubbing their scales across themselves to sound like the dangerously venomous Saw Scaled Viper. In addition to this they can also hiss and pant defensively. They are often found on the ground searching for bird eggs but are also capable of hunting eggs in trees. When consuming eggs they expand their mouths over the egg which can be many times the size of the snakes own head. Once consumed they swallow the egg to about the start of the first third of the body where modified internal spines crack the egg and the snake squeezes and drinks the contents. Once consumed the snake regurgitates the empty shell.
Forest edges, open plains where it shelters in termite mounds, and grasslands. Most prevalent in sub-Sharan Africa but also found in parts of the middle east in the range of the Saw Scaled Viper.
NO SNAKE SHOULD EVER BE HANDLED BY ANYONE BUT EXPERTS: Can be confused with the Rhombic Night Adder and displays defensive behavior similar to the Saw Scaled Viper.