last changes: Sunday, January 06, 2008

Keeping of the African Mole Snake

    Pseudaspis cana 

Male 3 years old

male 1/2 year old


The African mole snake lives in southern Africa from Simbabwe, Botswana, Namibia southwards to the Cape province of the state South Africa (Patterson/Bannister) or from Angola and Kenia southwards (Trutnau). They grow up to 2m total lenght and live often in rodent tunnels. The coloration mostly is unicolor and vary from yellow over brown and grey up to solid black. The coloration of the young animals differ from this, please look left hand and read the paragraph - Young snakes- of this page.

Keeping and behavior

The African mole snake prefers temperatures above aprox. 26 °C. They live in a dry terrarium with some hiding places and a small water bowl. They never trie to klimb. The ground gravel is made of pressed straw (for cats), in wich the animals lay digged often. But the other half of the day they are activ and crawl around. Before sheding I spray sometimes a little water. My animals I can‘t take out of the terrarium without the risk of a bite, mostly they set up fekals then. Fully adult animals should become more calm (Trutnau) (maybe if the are not hungry - Sku) - my animals did not... For keeping I take a medium sized enclosure, the young snakes grew up in small terrariums.


In the rearing I fed my mole snakes two times a week with defrosted mice. They too ate alife mice. The adult snake like to eat defosted big mice, midsize rats and defrosted chicks. In habitat they prefer several sorts of rodents and sometimes eggs (Trutnau), in youth they prefer lizards.


Like all my snakes they make a 8 week hibernation in our German December/Jannuary at aprox. 12°C. Wether they need it - I don’t know.


In spring the illumination durination and the heating slowly gets normal. In habitat there occure hard conduct fights in males, wich can lead to heavy wounds. Those snakes are life bearing and get in South Africa in March/April (South African late summer) 30-50 babys. Up to 95 babys in one birth were counted.

Young Snakes

My first young mole snakes I bought on a reptile fair in Holland from an English breeder. They were 18 cm, 4 month old and cb 2001. The small snakes lived for the first year one by one in small terraria. The young ones are not unicolored, they have dark saddlespots and greater dark sidespots on grey to light brown ground. There is a small white stripe on the side betwen the saddles and the side spots, the last scales on the side towards the belly are often white, too. In the second year they slowly loose their markings. The color of my adult snake is similar to its ground color in youth. The picture on top of this page show one of my animals in youth and fully grown. My young animals ate defrosted mice and they ate it without problems. But I think the breeder have taken a lot of time to train them on mice. In nature they would eat lizards now. After 18 month my animals were 50/60/70 cm in total lenght.

Maturity, Lifespan

Depending on amount of food and quality of snakes the maturity begins in the 2. or 3. year.

My Snakes

 In my terrarium I began in 2001 with 3 small snakes, an 1,2-group. In 2003 they lived together and I lost the first female because of fights for a mouse. In the beginning of 2004 I lost my second female because of a stressrelated desease. So only an adult male now is left of this litter. But in 2007 I got an adult pair from Durban/SA and have hopes for own offspring in 2008.


Literature for South Africa is not so much, here some examples:

Reptilien Südafrikas from Patterson/Bannister from the Landbuch-Verlag (German)

Field Guide To The Snakes And Other Reptiles Of Southern Africa from Branch from New Holland (English)

Schlangen 1 from Trutnau from the Ulmer Verlag (German)


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