Cape Town Still Supports A Population of Hemachatus haemachatus

Abbé Pierre Joseph Bonnaterre described the Rinkhals also called the Ringhals or Ring-necked Spitting Cobra as Coluber haemachatus in 1790 in his Tableau encyclopedia.... Today the snake is known to herpetologists as Hemachatus haemachatus. The Rinkhal is widely distributed, being known from known from the Southern Cape Province of South Africa, northeast through the Free State, Lesotho, Transkei, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, Western Swaziland and parts of Gauteng, South Africa. And, there is apparently an isolated population near Inyanga on the Zimbabwe - Mozambique border. The City of Cape Town asked the public to report any Rinkhals sightings that they may have made in the past decade, in order to assist the biodiversity management branch in their research into this species.  At least some thought Hemachatus haemachatus to be extinct in the Cape Town area. But the public’s response to the request suggests there is a population still living within their metropolitan boundaries. The cobra has been reported from Somerset West and Gordon's Bay, from the Cape Peninsula, and around Table Mountain National Park, and north along the West Coast towards Mamre.  While the description s of the snake in these areas suggests it is present, they have yet to be confirmed. The News Times of Cape Town is reporting that citizens are delighted that the snake is still present.


  1. As an update, we have confirmed the presence of the rinkhals in the East of the metro - Somerset West and Gordon's Bay. We are still hoping for confirmation from the Table Mountain range. If you're interested there is more info here


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