Reptiles in Pilanesberg

The reptiles in Pilanesberg are prolific but not always very visible. Pilanesberg National Park has 66 known reptile species including geckos, lizards, snakes, tortoises and crocodiles. Most of these creatures are fairly small and well camouflaged, but no less fascinating than their bigger mammalian neighbours.

Of all the reptiles the Nile crocodile is probably the most visible. The opportunistic hunter spends most of his days basking on the riverbanks or floating in shallow water. Nile crocodiles will prey on any animal equal or smaller in size although this large reptile rarely strays very far from the water.

Pilanesberg is also home to a variety of snakes. Most serpents are shy and will avoid human contact. However, one species is feared particularly by hikers. The puff adder is a snake with a stout body that will not move until one has almost stepped on it. The puff adder’s confidence comes from its extremely venomous bite. The largest snake in Africa, which also occurs in Pilanesberg, is the African python. This non-venemous giant kills its prey by constricting its body around is. Measuring up to 6 metres the python can kill anything from rodents to small antelopes. Other serpent species of interest are the aggressive and extremely venomous black mamba and the Mozambique spitting cobra.

Pilanesberg also has reptiles of the vegetarian kind. In fact the lobatse hinge-back tortoise and the leopard tortoise are among the least threatening animals Pilanesberg has to offer.

Due to their size and near-perfect camouflage the reptiles of Pilanesberg National Park are best viewed on a walking safari. A knowledgeable guide will point out even the tiniest geckos and lizards and explain how these fascinating creatures fit into the bigger picture.