The Common Slug-Eater (Duberria lutrix)

Physical Description:

This is a tiny snake species that are completely harmless unless you are a slug or a snail. Adults grow to around 30 centimeters on average. It has a small indistinct head, and dark eyes, 

This snake can vary slightly in color. The top half of its body is a light reddish brown color, with a darker brown band on its sides all the way down its body, and a creamy white or yellow belly bordered by black or grey dots that run down the edges of its underbelly. 

Geographical Range:

This species is found along the eastern half of South Africa and down into the coastal region of the Western Cape Province. 

Natural Habitat:

Their natural habitat includes Savannah Grasslands and Bushveld. They prefer moist habitats, as this is where their food is more frequently encountered. They are often seen in the early mornings or evenings after it has been raining. This snake is often found under rocks, logs, and vegetation. 


The Common Slug-Eater Feeds exclusively on Land Gastropods, in other words, Snails and Slugs. They are marvellous animals to have around as they do a great job at keeping snail and slug populations down. 


This snake is very reluctant to bite and when picked up it prefers to release a smelly liquid from its scent glands in its cloaca, leaving a pungent smell on your hands. This defense is used to deter potential predators. Another one of this snake’s defensive behaviours is to roll up tightly into a spiral when they feel threatened, protecting its head inside the coil.In Afrikaans, the Slug-Eater’s name when directly translated means Tobacco Roll, because of its habit of rolling up when feeling threatened.

Their Predators:

Their predators include domestic cats, predatory birds, such as the Southern Fiscal (Lanius collaris), and the Black-Headed Heron. They are also preyed upon by other ophiophagus (meaning snake-eating) snakes such as the Spotted Harlequin Snake.


This species is a viviparous snake species that gives birth in late summer to 6 – 22 young. 

Conservation Status:

The Common Slug-Eater is completely harmless to man and is considered a species of least concern on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.