Bibron's Burrowing Asp (Atractaspis bibroni, congica)


This snake can occur throughout Zambia on the savannahs and flood plains.


A uniform dark purplish to black colouration. Can also be dark brown or dark burgundy. Greyish underbelly.

Adult size

Seldom exceeds 40cm in length.


Mainly nestling rodents and sleeping lizards. Can also eat other burrowing snakes.

Venom and Danger level: Equipped with a cytotoxic venom and can inflict a painful bite with pain, swelling, discoloration and some necrosis. Not likely to be fatal. Venom fangs are long, fixed and backward facing. The snake strikes with a backward jerky movement.

Unique Characteristic:

A subterranean snake that occurs on surface at night after heavy rain. Very easy to confuse this snake with the purple gloss snakes and wolf snakes, both of which are of similar size but harmless. One way of ID is to observe it arching its neck towards the ground trying to burrowing. This behaviour is fairly unique to this snake

Bibron's Burrowing Asp (Atractaspis bibroni, congica)
Snakes Alive Zambia Education & Conservation (SAZI) image
Snakes Alive Zambia Education & Conservation (SAZI)
Promoting a positive attitude towards snakes
Snakes Alive Zambia Education & Conservation (SAZI) is a limited company that provides a service that is intended to educate participants, customers and clients by promoting the preservation of Zambian herpetofauna, as well as contribute to the conservation of the class of creature referred to as “reptilia”. Educational and conservation related activities take place in accordance with the Zambia Wildlife Act, 2015 and under the auspices of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.