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11 Incredible Purple Snakes You Never Knew About

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Snakes are one of the most beautiful animals in the world. Ironically, they are also the most dangerous, as the venom of some snakes can kill an adult. These legless reptiles come in a variety of colors such as black, green, yellow, and sometimes purple or even iridescent.

Purple snakes are extremely rare and are beloved by snake fans and owners alike for their unique coloring. The demand for these uniquely colored snakes has led breeders to create purple variants of popular snakes, such as the purple passion ball python. However, there are naturally occurring purple snakes. This article reveals 11 purple snakes you never knew existed.

Why are some snakes purple?

purple python skin
One of the main reasons snakes have a purple hue is to help them camouflage.

© Tetyana Tarusina/Shutterstock.com

While purple snakes are attractive, their color is not just for aesthetic value. One of the main reasons snakes have this hue is camouflage. The variety of colors comes from their chromatophores, which are responsible for basic colors like black, brown and red.

Color changes such as purple are caused by the interaction of these skin cells, and there are varying amounts in snakes.

11 Species Of Purple Snakes Existing In The World

1. File snake ( Limaformosa capensis )

Cape file snake (Limaformosa capensis)
The common file snake has a maximum length of 5.74 feet.

© Bernard DUPONT/ flickr – License

The common file snake, known in some places as the good-luck witch doctor snake, is a harmless snake found in Africa. These snakes look like triangular rasps with keel-like scales on purple-pink skin and a light stripe running from head to tail on their backs.

These harmless snakes have been reported to reach a maximum length of 5.74 feet. If handled, these snakes are more likely to spray musk than attack. However, they prey on venomous snakes such as cobras and black mambas. The common file snake spends most of its life underground, coming out to hunt at night.

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2. Mangrove rattlesnake ( Trimeresurus purpureoculatus )

mangrove rattlesnake
The mangrove viper has a triangular head and a stout body with keel-like scales.

© Kurit afshen/Shutterstock.com

The mangrove viper, also known as the bank pit viper, is a venomous snake commonly found in Bangladesh, India and parts of Southeast Asia. According to Khaosok National Park, the average length of males is 24 inches and females are longer, reaching up to 35 inches.

The mangrove viper has a triangular head and a stout body with keel-like scales. These venomous snakes range in color from olive to purple-brown and are common in wet areas such as mangroves and coastal forests. Although these snakes have unique color variations, it is advisable to observe them from a distance as they are notoriously short-tempered and quick to attack if they feel threatened.

3. Natal Purple-Glossed Snake ( Amblyodipsas concolor )

africa, animal, animal scale, animal wildlife, wild animal
The skin of the newborn purple light snake is dark brown or purple black with purple luster

©iStock.com/Willem Van Zyl

The Natal Violet Snake is a venomous snake of the Viridae family, which was once a subclass of the Viridae family. Also known as the KwaZulu-Natal purple snake, this rear-toothed species is endemic to southern Africa.

It has distinct dark brown or purple-black skin with a purple sheen, hence the name. The Natal Purple Gloss Snake measures 27.5 inches from head to tail tip.

4. Western Purple Snake (Amblyodipsas unicolor)

snake, africa, aggressive, animal, animal body part
An adult western purple glossy snake is usually about 15.34 inches long.

©iStock.com/Gerrit Rautenbach

The western violet snake is a species of posterior-toothed snake in the Iridaceae family. Found throughout the African continent, it is one of the most popular purple snakes. Like other snakes in its family, the western purple snake is venomous. However, its venom only affects its prey and is harmless to humans. An adult western purple glossy snake is usually about 15.34 inches long.

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5. Common Purple Snake (Amblyodipsas polylepis)

weak scale fish
The common purple snake has more rows of dorsal scales than any other genus.

© Ryanvanhuyssteen / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

The common purple glossy snake is dark brown with a purple sheen. These snakes can be up to 30 inches long and are venomous. They are found in many parts of Africa, including Namibia, Zambia and Botswana. The common purple snake has more rows of dorsal scales than any other genus. They are also poisonous, but their venom is only fatal to their prey.

6. Oriental Violet Snake (Amblyodipsas microphthalma)

snake, animal, animal body part, animal head, animal scale
The eastern purple gloss grows to less than 12 inches long and has 15 rows of dorsal scales.

© iStock.com/Dylan Leonard

Like other axolotl species, eastern violet snakes have fangs and are venomous. It is brown and white with a purple sheen characteristic of its species. The eastern purple gloss grows to less than 12 inches long and has 15 rows of dorsal scales. This species can be found in parts of South Africa and Mozambique.

7. Katanga Violet Snake ( Amblyodipsas katangensis)

The Katanga Violet Snake is a species of back-toothed snake in the Orchididae family, found in many parts of Africa. There are two subspecies of the Katanga Violet Snake, which are venomous and have brown or black skin with a purple sheen. The Katanga purple snake is nocturnal and like other snakes in its family preys on mammals, reptiles and birds.

8. Rodin Purple Snake (Amblyodipsas rodhaini)

Rodhain's purple glossy snake was named in honor of physician and zoologist Jérome Alphonse Hubert Rodhain. This species belongs to the family Atractaspididae, has posterior teeth and is venomous. Besides that, Rodhain's purple glossy snake is known for being mysterious and nocturnal. While its venom has not been properly studied, we know it is effective against the small mammals, reptiles and birds it preys on.

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9. Mpwapwa purple snake (Amblyodipsas dimidiata)

The Mpuwapuwa Violet Snake is black and white with a purple sheen. It can be identified by its white upper lip and 17 rows of dorsal scales. Adult Mpwapwa purple glossy snakes are usually 19 inches long. These backtooth snakes are venomous and can be found in various parts of the Republic of Congo.

10. Kalahari Violet Snake (Amblyodipsas ventrimaculata)

The Kalahari Purple Snake is found in different parts of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana. It is hindfanged and venomous like other species in the genus Bluntfish , but little is known about this species. One study calls it a "little-known and neglected" African snake.

11. Teitana Purple Snake (Amblyodipsas teitana)

Teitana purple-glossed snake is a hind-toothed species of the family Atractaspididae . The species was first studied by Arthur Loveridge in 1936, but little else has been studied since. On average, the Teitana purple glossy snake is 16.9 inches long and is found only on Mount Taita in Kenya.

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