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African Burrowing Snakes: Atractaspididae


African burrowing snakes typically eat other animals that like to live underground. Depending on the species, or type, of snake, the meals may include lizards, blind snakes, worm lizards, centipedes (sen-tuh-PEEDS), and frogs. The larger African burrowing snakes will also eat rodents, a group of animals that includes mice. Some species will eat a variety of different animals, but some are very particular. One kind of quill-snouted snake, for example, eats only large worm lizards. Although scientists are unsure how the snakes successfully attack and kill such a large animal, they suspect that this snake stabs the lizard to death with its hard and pointed head. Other picky diners are the "centipede eaters," which rarely make a meal out of anything except the small, many-legged animals called centipedes. The snake grabs the centipede and chews it with its rear fangs to inject venom. When the venom knocks out or kills the centipede, the snake turns it around to swallow it head first.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesAfrican Burrowing Snakes: Atractaspididae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, African Burrowing Snakes And People, Southern Burrowing Asp (atractaspis Bibronii): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, CONSERVATION STATUS