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The Reptiles in Uganda


Nile Crocodiles feed mostly on fish and the one found in Uganda is the largest living reptile in Africa dating back 150 million years.

They will prey on mammals as they come to water, and here in Uganda you have cases along lakes where every year someone is killed by a crocodile, but you coming on Safari are quite safe since you will view them on a boat launch trip along the Nile at Murchison Falls, or along the Kazinga Channel Shores and at Lake Mburo as you take your trip on the lake.


If you come across one, do not fear, they are harmless to you. Here in Uganda you find the savannah monitor and the water monitor.

The water monitor can often be found along Kazinga Channel.  In Murchison Falls there is a good chance to come across the savannah monitor and the Water Monitor Lizard along the Nile.  The savannah monitor can be over 2 meters long.

There are many different kinds of snakes found in Uganda.  The good news is this, they are normally quite shy and slither away as they sense your approach. You might see a few cross the road in front of your vehicle and spot a Rock Python or two along your safari.


This is Africa’s largest snake, lengths often over 5 meters in length. Gold on black mottled kind of skin. They are not venomous and kill their prey by strangulation wrapping their bodies around them, swallowing it whole and off to a nap that can last a couple of months. They feed on large rodents, small antelopes, they could kill a small child. You will not come across too many, a good place is the bat cave in Maramagambo Forest in Queen Elizabeth National Park.



That is most one of the most often encountered snakes in Uganda, they are found in the Savannah parks. It feeds mostly on rodents, but will strike when threatened. It is a sluggish kind of snake and because of that you can more easily disturb it but again it is not often that a safari visitor comes across one.



This is the largest African Viper over 2 meters long, has a heavy build, black and brown skin pattern with some gold on it. A perfect mix for the rain forests of Uganda.


A most poisonous snake, this snake is associated with many stories about killing villagers. Normally the Black Mamba will only strike when attacked and then repeatedly. It is found in Uganda, especially in eastern part of the country. Black Mambas are quite fast and able to move faster than humans. They are not black in color but the interior of their mouth is.


You usually do not see the Green Mambas on the ground but in trees, even in the roofs of homes, latrines, also in shrubs and bushes, poisonous but not as aggressive as the Black Mamba.


The boomslang is relatively a small snake averaging between 3 to 5 feet, but in exceptional circumstances in some parts of its range, it can exceed 6 feet. It is a tree snake which is non-fangs, and not aggressive but yet very toxic in rare cases.

It has a rather slender, laterally compressed body with large, heavily keeled, overlapping scales. It is arboreal and widely distributed over much of sub-Saharan Africa, including Uganda where it occurs in a range of habitats from thickets to dry Savannah, and even semi-arid areas.


It is back-fanged and non-aggressive in behavior and yet it is a very toxic snake. It has not caused any fatalities in Uganda and for that matter in the rest of Africa.


Up to 2 meters in length and found in the Savannah parks and feeds on moles as the name suggests and other rodents. 

Again the name tells the story, this snake feeds on bird eggs. The swallow the egg whole and regurgitate the shell some time later.

In Uganda there are many chameleons but few to be seen.  We know them best for being able to change their colors depending on the mood they are in rather than their background and surrounding.

Here in Uganda you might come across one along a path or a road as you travel or take a walk such as in the Foothills of the Rwenzori Mountain.

Flap-Necked Chameleon: These are found in the Savannah and wooded areas. It is around 15 cm long, bright and green in color, but they can grow to double in size and will turn tan or brown under certain conditions.

Graceful Chameleon: Yellow and green in color, and white stripe along the flanks of it.

It is bulky and dark green in color with yellow stripes and a small horn.  It feeds on small reptiles and insects.

No matter where you go you just find this little visitor in your room, almost plastic like, don’t worry they are harmless and eat insects.


Most common is the leopard tortoise, with a shell that is leopard like in pattern. They can weigh up to 30 kilos



Somewhat flatter than tortoises and the most common found on a rock near the water will be the Nile soft-shelled Terrapin, a wide flat shell can be one meter in length in some cases.

The above are Reptiles found in Uganda. However, most visitors to Uganda rarely see snakes.  Most often you will come across crocodiles, monitor lizards, chameleons, a turtle in the national parks, including Queen Elizabeth national park, or Murchison falls national park – you might see a rock python on a game drive,  boat cruises, at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Reptile village, or in the Maramagambo Bat-caves where they live right with their prey.