South Sudan is a fairly newly formed nation located in east-central Africa. Its ecosystems include rainforests, swamps, savannas, and mountains. The country is rich in biodiversity and has a large number of unique and endemic species. This article takes a look at some of the native reptile species found here.
Torit Gracile Blind Snake
The Torit Gracile blind snake is endemic to South Sudan. It is found in the state of Eastern Equatoria, in the southeastern region of the country. Its preferred habitat is in gallery forests, which are found along rivers running through dry ecosystems such as deserts. This blind snake species belongs to the family Letheobia and is slightly longer than other snakes in the same grouping. This snake species can grow to a maximum length of 10.6 inches. It has a blunt snout and enlarged forehead
Butler’s Black-and-Yellow Burrowing Snake
Butler’s black-and-yellow burrowing snake is also known as Butler’s two-headed snake. It belongs to the Lamprophiidae family. Endemic to Africa, this venomous snake has a black body with 3 yellow stripes running down the length. Its underside is also yellow. It can reach lengths of up to 14 inches. This snake has a small head and rounded snout with small eyes and smooth scales. The Butler’s black-and-yellow burrowing snake prefers moist savannas in lowland areas where it can easily bury itself in the loose soil. Its diet consists of worms, lizards, and other smaller snakes.
Mount Kinyeti Chameleon
The Mount Kinyeti chameleon is endemic to South Sudan, and more specifically has only been found on Mount Kinyeti, the highest peak in the country. Found above 9,800 feet in elevation, this chameleon species prefers montane forest and alpine scrub habitats. Some researchers have discovered the Mount Kinyeti chameleon at the base of the mountain in the dry Talanga forest. This finding suggests that the chameleon may have a wider distribution over the mountain, although sufficient evidence is lacking. Only 4 specimens have been found. The species requires more research in order to identify any threats or necessary conservation efforts.
Adanson’s Mud Turtle
Adanson’s mud turtle is endemic to central Africa and lives throughout South Sudan, Senegal, Nigeria, and Chad, as well as in other countries central African nations in smaller numbers. This turtle species prefers freshwater habitats, particularly shallow, warm rivers running through dry, hot savannas and outside of the rainforest. Its sharp-backed shell can grow to around 9 inches and is characterized by an oval shape that narrows near the head. Although its upper body is dark brown, darker brown spots can be distinguished on the outer shell and a yellow color underneath. Its head is broad and almost flat, grayish brown on top, and yellow on the chin. Its diet consists of small fish, mollusks, and amphibians as well as some vegetation, although it is predominantly a carnivore. Specific information is not available, however, climate change may lead to loss of its freshwater habitat. The species is not currently listed as threatened.
Schlegel’s Beaked Blind Snake
Schlegel’s beaked blind snake, also known as Schlegel’s giant blind snake, is endemic to eastern and southern Africa in the coastal bush habitats found there. It belongs to the Typhlopidae family, and is the largest species in the grouping. Interestingly, the same species, Afrotyphlops schlegelii, can be found in 3 color variations. It can have the appearance of either a solid dark brown to black color, a spotted black and dark brown with yellow on its sides, or a black striped body. The longest recorded length for this snake species has been 37.75 inches. Its diet consists exclusively of termites.