Snakes in Tanzania

A snake you may come across on safari in Tanzania is the largest in Africa, the Rock python, which feeds on prey as large as a small antelope.  The commonest of the venomous snakes in Tanzania is the fearsome puff adder, often considered the most dangerous of African snakes, not because it is the most toxic or aggressive, but because its sluggish nature means it is more often disturbed.  The Gabon viper, found in rainforest areas, is more venomous but is more placid in character and so less dangerous.  A number of cobras and mambos are also present in Tanzania, along with the boomslang, said to be the most venomous of all the continent’s snakes, though it is extremely rare for it to attack a human.  (I used the excellent Bradt guide to Tanzania as a source for this)

Photos of snakes in Tanzania a collection of photos from Tanzanian snakes

Dangerous snakes in Tanzania

While snakes are a rarity to see, and snakes bites are extremely unlikely, snakes do tend to be on the list of concerns of every safari participant. Among the poisonous snakes of Tanzania, the most dangerous species are the puff adder, Gabon viper, black and green mambas, boomslang, and several cobras including the spitting cobra. These snakes account for several hundreds of reported envenomations each year, although the typical victim is hardly a tourist sitting on a safari vehicle.
The best course of actions to avoid dangerous encounters with poisonous snakes is constant awareness. When on foot, always scan the ground in front of and around your path. Never step into an area that you can’t check visually and never, EVER!, put your hands in places that you can’t see. All snakes love to avoid interaction with humans and, if made aware of our presence before feeling threatened or cornered, will retreat unnoticed. Keep your bag zips and tent nets closed at all times, when not in use, and never walk at night around the camp without the aid of bright flashlight.

Books about Tanzanian snakes

Pocket Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of East Africa (Recommended)

This is a lightweight and portable guide, partly adapted from the popular and highly acclaimed A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa by the same authors. Covering the most prominent 150 reptiles and 80 amphibians found in the region (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi), with concise text, photograph and map for each, this is a convenient and attractive pocket guide for a diverse and often conspicuous and attractive group of animals….
“For anyone with a general interest in wildlife, a comprehensible, portable, and fairly comprehensive field guide is a must. This pocket guide fulfils these criteria.” Scottish Bird News
Part of the well-known Photoguide series of books on African natural history, this guide covers the most common snakes, lizards, skinks, chamaeleons, terrapins and amphibians (frogs) of East Africa – covering a total of 260 species. The aim is identification and each species account features a brief text that highlights diagnostic features, a distribution map and a colour photograph.

Venemous snakes of Tanzania

Meserani Snake Park, Tanzania

The snake park provides various activities, take a guided tour and learn about some of the most dangerous snakes in the world, from the Black and Green Mamba, Egyptian Cobra, Puff Adders and many more. Capture your special moment and hold a real live snake. Check out the 3m plus crocodiles at feeding time and touch a baby crocodile.

Meserani Snake Park provides a free medical clinic. All proceeds from the Maasai Cultural Museum go towards supplying medical equipment and anything else that is required to run the clinic. Over Landers help and donate supplies when passing through. Meserani’s medical clinic has approximately 1000 patients per month and growing. The clinic is expanding and is in the process of building a larger clinic and the old clinic will be turned into an orphanage.

Meserani Snake Park Medical Clinic

Snakes & Lizards – Education in Tanzania & Kenya

Snakes and lizards are misunderstood and despised in many cultures around the world – and Africa is no exception.  Much of this fear arises from a lack of knowledge and understanding about these animals, their value, and how to live with them.