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Species of the month[edit]

Common Egg-eater[edit]

Dasypeltis scabra after swallowing an egg

Dasypeltis scabra

Some facts on this snake:

Length: 51–89 cm.

Diet: Feeds exclusively on bird eggs.

Egg clutch: Between 6 and 25.

Range: Sub-saharan Africa.

First described: By the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus in 1758 as Coluber scaber. It was moved to the genus Dasypeltis in 1830 by the German naturalist Johann Georg Wagler.

Can you imagine eating nothing but eggs? Dasypeltis scabra does just that. It swallows bird eggs whole and crushes them using a specialized vertebral hypapophysis (vertebral column) which extends into the esophagus. The shell is then regurgitated in one piece, and its contents are passed along to the stomach. This non-venomous snake can be identified by its diamond shaped markings, black tongue and black mouth. It has a strictly nocturnal lifestyle. When disturbed, it inflates itself, hisses by rapidly rubbing together the rough scales on the side of its body, and strikes with its mouth kept wide open. The genus Dasypeltis or "Egg-eating Snakes" includes nine African species, and is a member of the speciose family Colubridae or "Typical Snakes".

(Archived from Template:Species of the week)