Forest cobra snake in South Africa. (Photo/ Flickr/ Steve Slater)

Reptile Species In Africa, By Country; Southern And Eastern Africa Scaly Paradise

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A STRANGE story from Zimbabwe last week – a man was driving a van when a snake jumped in and landed on the dashboard. The driver promptly jumped out.

The driverless van thus rammed into a shopping centre in central Mutare, the Manica Post newspaper reported; driver Julius Hozheri escaped unscathed, but was at pains to describe his miraculous escape, asserting that the snake “came from nowhere.”

“At first people could not believe what I was telling them. They said there was nowhere a snake could get into the car at the intersection right in the middle of the city. Some said I was hallucinating while others said I was trying to cover up negligent driving by attributing the accident to wild assertions. People started to believe me when they found the snake in the damaged car,” he told the newspaper.

“They could not believe their eyes. All of a sudden some started talking about witchcraft and all sort of voodoo related explanations. What I knew was that I was alive and I had escaped from the jaws of death,” the paper reported.

Some witnesses took a video of the snake while it was still in the car and the clip has since gone viral on social media; it was speculated that the snake might have been the highly venomous Eastern brown snake.


Snake-jumping aside, southern and eastern Africa is one of the most diverse regions for reptile species – this includes snakes, lizards, geckos, tortoises, crocodiles, and all other types of cold-blooded, scaly creatures that Africans don’t particularly like. Madagascar leads Africa in reptile biodiversity at 383 reptile species in the country.

Second is South Africa with 364 species, and Tanzania is third at 335. The Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya round out the top five, followed by Angola, Somalia, Namibia, Cameroon and Ethiopia in that order.

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