I saw these two mole snakes about to mate at the Silvermine River Wetlands.  The larger one was about 1-2 metres long and the smaller about a third of that.  I managed to get about 15cm from them before they warned me off by hissing.  I asked a local herpetologist about the sexes, presuming that the bigger one could be the female.  The size is age related, so it could have been an older male and smaller (younger) female and vice versa.

A couple of interesting facts about mole snakes:

Mole snakes are a protected species because they kill so many rats, mice and mole rats

They give birth to live young and have litters of up to 45 and occasionally up to 90

Although they can bite when provoked, they are not venomous

They prey on Karoo Prinia nests – a common Wetland resident

 

Mating mole snakes at Silvermine Wetlands. Photo: Evanne Rothwell

Mole snake spies mate at Silvermine Wetlands. Photo: Evanne Rothwell

 

Mating mole snakes at Silvermine Wetlands. Photo: Evanne Rothwell

Mating mole snakes at Silvermine Wetlands. Photo: Evanne Rothwell

 

Mating mole snakes at Silvermine Wetlands. Photo: Evanne Rothwell

Mating mole snakes at Silvermine Wetlands. Photo: Evanne Rothwell

 

Let’s be thankful that we have these snakes around, as we would be overrun by rodents if we didn’t!

 

Evanne Rothwell