African House Snakes

African House Snakes

(Boaeden capensis)

Formally grouped in the genus Lamprophis, there remains debate about how these snakes should be classified, however regardless of nomenclature they make very interesting captives suitable for any skill level. We classify them as an often overlooked and underappreciated awesome little nocturnal colubrid!

Enclosure Size:

African house snakes will typically grow between 3.5 to under 5 feet, so an enclosure footprint of 3 feet by two feet is more than adequate to keep them happy and healthy. Large Exoterra or 40-gallon breeder aquariums will work just fine for adults. Hides in both cooler and warmer areas of the enclosure prove beneficial for thermoregulation and digestion without compromising their sense of security. Though all care sheets emphasize how snakes are masters of escape, house snakes are the Houdinis of this trait, and their enclosures need thoroughly secured.


Found in a wide variety of habitats these nocturnal, terrestrial snakes are native to sub-Saharan Africa, including scrub, woodland, savanna, and grassland, where seasonal temperature ranges from the mid 50’s to mid 80’s, making them a very hardy captive suitable to wide range of environments.


Basking Spot Temperature: 87°F-90°F

Warm Side Ambient Temperature: 82°F-87°F

Cool Side Ambient Temperature: 70°F-80°F

Optional Night-time Ambient Drop: 70°F-78°F


Though it is mostly arid for a large portion of the year in South Africa, there is a cooler rainy season. An enclosure set up as arid environment (40-50 % humidity) works great when assembled with the inclusion of some humid hide options. Your House snake will seek out those hides and use them when appropriate. Ex. during shedding. We really like to use New Zealand sphagnum moss lightly moistened to accomplish this and although it’s fairly resistant to bacterial growth, it should be changed out frequently to prevent any issues. Old moss, if not soiled, can be dried in the sun as a means of disinfection then reused.


In the wild, house snakes are opportunistic feeders and feed on a variety of different prey items such as geckos, lizards, bats, frogs, small rodents and even small birds. There are reported cases of cannibalism among house snakes, so like most snakes co-habitation is ill advised. Your house snake will do perfectly fine on a diet of mice fed every 5 to 10 days, with prey items being only slightly larger than the largest part of their body.