Some reptiles of Mlele Beekeeping Zone
Diversity of reptiles in the area was never carefully studied and S. Spawls et al. (2004) in their reference book, A field guide to the reptiles of East Africa outlined the under-collection of data in Western Tanzania.
Even if we never really looked for snakes, encounters are quite frequent. Most common species encountered are black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis), puff adder (Bitis arietans) and boomslang (Dispholidus typus). These species are habitat generalists and can be found anywhere in the Mlele Beekeeping Zone.
Three other snake species have been observed, which are more habitat specialist and water dependent species. The olive Marsh snake (Natriciteres olivacea), a specimen of the less common dark morph was observed in an inundated floodplain during the rain season.
The African rock python (Python natalensis) seems dependent on water as it was observed close to rivers or waterholes.
The twig snake (Thelotornis capensis) has been observed and pictured in Iloba gallery forests, close to the camp.
Nile crocodile (Crocodilus niloticus) even if abundant in neighbouring Katavi and Rukwa has never been observed in Mlele, neither in Iloba or Msima rivers, probably due to the lack of water during most of the dry season. Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus) has been observed close to river and water points, but was never captured with camera traps.
For the moment only the flap-necked chameleon (Chameleo dilepis) which is common throughout Western Tanzania has been observed and pictured.
Among lizards the yellow-throated plated lizard (Gerrhosaurus flavigularis) was observed and pictured. Several Agama species are regularly observed but remain difficult to determine without being captured to be closely observed.
People and snakes: Some of the local inhabitants from both Wasukuma and Wakongo groups have knowledge in snake handling and manipulation. They use to perform with snakes in Drum & dance groups during traditional manifestation.