Montaspis gilvomuculata. Photo by Matabaro Ziganira, KwaZulu-Natal Museum

This rare cream-spotted snake is endemic to the Drakensberg Mountains in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Only four specimens have ever been found in this region between 1967 and 1991. Between 1991 to date, no other specimen has been spotted or collected.

Unfortunately, one snake escaped and disappeared during its captivity and only three specimens are currently housed in collections in South Africa. However, the specimen in the KwaZulu-Natal Museum is the oldest of all and was collected in 1967 in the Giant’s Castle Game Reserve by Z. Grafton, but the exact site remains unknown.

Previously, this specimen was requested by various researchers but was never found in the Herpetology Collections of the KwaZulu-Natal Museum until late last year (2020). During our collection care exercise, the snake was found ‘mixed’ with frog specimens in the Herpetology Collection and this explained the reason why it was never found. Once thought to have been lost but now found, the snake is currently placed in the correct location.

This excitement has spread and I, Matabaro Ziganira who takes care of the Collection have already received inquiries about the snake and I hope it will attract the attention of more researchers nationally and internationally.