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Common or Rhombie Egg Eater

Snakes | Namibia

Introduction: Egg eaters are so-called because they feed exclusively on birds' eggs. Adaptations include an almost toothless mouth apart from tiny teeth set in thick gums; flexible skin on the lower jaw and neck and a small head.

The process of eating birds' eggs is possible in part due special 'gular' teeth (projections into the gullet from the backbone) which saw through the shell. Once the shell is broken the liquid content is devoured and the remains of the shell can be thrown up. In addition to the 'gular' teeth, the throat is capable of swallowing eggs 3 times the size of the head. Only fresh eggs are taken.

The talents of egg eaters don't end there. They have the ability to mimic venomous adders when threatened by predators such as jackals and mongooses. As they have similar colour patterns to adders, a reasonable 'hiss' by is created by forming a nested horseshoe shape of their coils and rubbing their 'serrated lateral scales' together. A strike will follow complete with open mouth offering a credible defence, although in reality they are quite harmless.

Egg eaters are oviparous. Even though they are nocturnal and terrestrial snakes, egg eaters readily climb trees and rock faces to search for birds' nests. There is only 1 species of egg eater in Namibia.

The common or rhombie egg eater is very common but rarely seen. They imitate horned adders in Namibia. One specimen of this species lived in captivity for 31 years.

Distribution: Throughout Namibia less for the true regions of the Namib Desert.

Diet: This species will stock up on birds' eggs in spring and summer, building up fat for the winter fast.

Colouring: Colour patterns blend in with the local soil and imitate venomous species of snake of the region. The back is slate-grey to light brown or olive brown with blotches and bars. The lining of the mouth is black and the belly is white.

Breeding: Females lay between 6 to 25 eggs in summer and 2 clutches may be laid per season.

Size: Max SVL male 595mm, female 964mm.

Bullsport Guest Farm

The settlement of Bullsport is marked on nearly every map, however it consists of little more than this friendly guest farm. The owners are welcoming and eager to share their Namibian experiences. Great for hiking and horse riding.

Capricorn Rest Camp

A small, budget friendly, owner operated rest camp, with individual bungalows & campsites. Great for those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life

Naukluft Camp - Kudus Rus

Located in the mountainous Naukluft section of the Namib Naukluft Park, this is an ideal base for hikers or those wanting to relax at the crystal clear rock pools that amazingly exist in the desert environment

Neuras Wine Estate

One of the finest desert wine estates in the world can be found on the edge of the Namib Desert. The estate offers accommodation & wine tasting tours

Tsauchab River Camp

A small lodge on the banks of the Tsauchab River - an excellent place for walking and enjoying the surrounding scenery. Visitors are welcomed by an amazing arrary of metal sculptures

Zebra River Lodge

Another excellent place for hiking, in the Tsaris Mountains. If you want a genuinely warm welcome at a special lodge then this is an excellent choice. Zebra River can be used as a base for visits to the dunes at Sossusvlei, but is best used to relax and walk on the massive lodge property