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Leopard tortoise

Leopard Tortoise

The female reaches over 70cm in length whilst the male is less than 50cm. The carapace is well rounded and overall cream with extensive brown and black blotching becoming darker with age; the scutes are small. This species does not have a hinged plastron.

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Kalahari (Serrated) tent tortoise

Kalahari Tent Tortoise

The Kalahari Tent Tortoise is much smaller than the Leopard Tortoise. It has a pronounced nuchal scale  and a very serrated edge to the shell. It is more common in the drier areas of Botswana and not common in the Okavango.

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Marsh terrapin

Marsh (Helmeted) Terrapin

The marsh terrapin does not have a hinged plastron and has a flatter thinner shell. This trade-off of protection means it is more able to make use of temporary pans because it does not have  a heavy shell to carry when it moves from one temporary water source to another. However the thinner shell means that they are more prone …

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Okavango hinged terrapin

Okavango Hinged Terrapin

Okavango Hinged Terrapin This terrapin has a carapace of approximately 330mm large.  The carapace is generally dark olive to black in colour.  As with most terrapins, the plastron is hinged (refer to diagram).  It has a very large head, which is black with distinctive yellow patterns.  Terrapins have 5 claws on hind feet. The Okavango terrapin lays between 21 – …

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Kalahari sand lizard

Kalahari Sandlizard

Kalahari Sand Lizard is the only member of this genus of fast moving lizards in the Okavango Delta. As with all of these old world lizards the claws and legs are well developed, the skin is covered with granular scales, they can shed their tails and they are diurnal.

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Rufous-beaked snake

Rufous-beaked Snake

Rufous-beaked snake is a medium to large non-venomous snake most often found in mopane and broad-leafed woodland in Botswana. They hunt primarily by entering burrows and disused termitaria where they feed on a wide range of vertibrates including other snakes. Juveniles frequently take invertibrates. They are pale brownish on the back with an almost hooked appearance to the pointed head. …

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Shield-nosed snake

Shield-nosed Snake

Shield-nosed snake Family: Elapidae Aspidelaps scutatus is a short cobra reaching 75cm and is brown to reddish brown on the back. The throat is white with black bands across it. The head is brown to black with white blotches. Nocturnal. Food: reptiles, frogs and rodents. Habitat: savanna and arid areas of Namibia and Botswana. Reproduction: Oviparous. Lays up to 14 eggs Venom: …

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Spotted bush snake

Spotted Bush Snake

Spotted Bush Snake Philothamnus semivarigatus is a very common species in the Okavango but seldom seen due to its arboreal habits and excellent camouflage. It is a mildly venomous back-fanged member of the Colubridae family. The diet consists mostly of lizards, geckos, hatchling birds and frogs.

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Rhombic egg eater

Rhombic Egg-Eater

Rhombic Egg Eater Dasypeltis scabra is a common but easily overlooked snake in northern Botswana. The colouration mimics the venomous night adder and the rough scales when rubbed together in the special coiling motion make a hiss similar to the highly venomous adders. To add to the display the inside of the mouth is pitch-black (a trait it shares with …

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Angolan garter snake

Angolan Garter Snake

Angolan Garter Snake is a small mildly venomous snake. The juvenile has black and white bands of a similar width. With age the white bands turn black from the middle outward leaving 2 pale bands along the edge of what was 1 broad white band. It has a more rounded snout than the Sunevall’s Garter Snake which also occurs in …

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