Stiletto Snake vs Mole Snake: What are the Differences?

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Updated: December 27, 2023
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There are different species of stiletto snakes, but they all look pretty similar to mole snakes. It is easy to confuse the Bibron’s stiletto snake in particular with mole snakes. Mole snakes and stiletto snakes may look similar, but they are different in so many ways. Both creatures are beautiful and dangerous in their own unique ways. But what exactly are the differences between a stiletto snake and a mole snake? Let’s find out in this article.

Comparing a Stiletto Snake to a Mole Snake

A stiletto snake differs from a mole snake in size.
Stiletto SnakeMole Snake
SizeIt can grow up to 1.3 ft long.It can grow between 5.7ft to 6.7ft
Scientific name Atractaspis Bibronii
They belong to the Lamprophiidae family.
Pseudaspis Cana
They belong to the Pseudaspididae family.
ColorThe color varies, but it is mostly grey.The color varies due to different reasons, but it is mostly brown. 
VenomThis snake is quite venomousThis snake is not venomous
Distribution This snake is mostly found in Africa and Asia.This snake is mostly found in Africa.

The Key Differences Between Stiletto Snake and Mole Snake

The major difference between a stiletto snake and a mole snake is their size. The mole snake is clearly longer and heavier than the stiletto. On the other hand, the stiletto snake is a highly venomous snake species compared to the mole snake, which is non-venomous. Their colors also differ, and they have different reproductive cycles too. 

Let’s go deeper into the key differences between these two deadly beauties.

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Stiletto vs Mole Snake: Size and Appearance

Mole Snake

Mole snakes are longer than stiletto snakes.

©Four Oaks/

The most significant difference between both species of snakes is their difference in size. The mole snake is pretty long, growing to 6.7 feet.

But the irony is that the stiletto snake is deadlier than the mole snake (way deadlier). The stiletto snake doesn’t grow so big; it is usually around 16 inches in length. Depending on the species, it comes in various colors, ranging from dark brown to grey to solid black and even purple. The stiletto snake looks pretty harmless, but you should worry about their bites. These snakes have large fangs that can swivel out the side of their mouths. They also have tiny eyes with prominent snouts atop their heads.

Mole snakes are usually pretty and surprisingly long. The body type varies from either solid black to yellow to green or even grey. These snakes possess a pointed snout, a little head, and a sleek, tubular body. They have a variety of cool colors. 

Stiletto vs Mole Snakes: Color Types

The stiletto snake has a variety of colors that ranges from dark brown to uniform grey to solid black and even pretty dark purple. The underside of this snake is usually a pale yellow or white and possesses an intricate design of dark patches. Different species have their unique belly coloration.

The mole snake is similar to the stiletto snake color-wise. But the difference is: The body is mostly one color and not mixed. The color of this snake species varies from brown to pretty yellow to cool grey and, of course, prominent black. The color of the younger individual is often different from the adults because they have spots and unique marks. These spots fade away with time anyway. The color of the mole snake is dependent on its geography sometimes. In some northern areas, reddish-brown mole snakes can be found.

Stiletto vs Mole Snakes: Venom

Stiletto Snake (Atractaspis bibronii) from Gauteng. Although the body are mostly brown and black, in some case the belly can be white.

Stiletto snakes are among the deadliest in the world.

©Willem Van Zyl/

The stiletto snake is one of the most dangerous snakes in the world, not necessarily because of its toxicity but because of how the fangs move. According to the African Snakebite Institute, they are the third most common venomous snakebite in South Africa, after the Mozambique spitting cobra and puff adder. Instead of swinging forward, like a viper, stiletto snake fangs swing out to the side, which makes them impossible to handle like any other snake.

Their venom is a nasty mix too. It contains cytotoxins which can cause severe pain, blisters, and swelling. There aren’t any recorded fatalities, but it’s a medical emergency and should be treated as such!

On the other hand, the mole snake is not venomous, but that doesn’t mean that it should be taken for granted. This snake can inflict a painful bite that can get a little infected without proper treatment.

Stiletto vs Mole Snake: Distributions

The stiletto snake is majorly found in Southern Africa, but it has other geographical locations. Stiletto snakes love to live in locations that are grassy and can conceal them pretty well. Similarly, mole snakes are found in Southern Africa, but they are vast in areas that have desert areas and mountains.

Stiletto Vs Mole Snakes: Feeding

Stiletto snakes and mole snakes are dominantly carnivores. They survive on other smaller animals. The stiletto snake diet primarily includes birds, tiny rodents and small burrowing reptiles.

The mole snakes feed on tiny mammals too; small mammals are the main things they eat. They also enjoy eggs from seabirds and tiny frogs.

Stiletto vs Mole Snakes: Reproduction 

The stiletto snake loves staying underground, but it usually comes to the earth’s surface to mate. After mating, the female lays about 4-12 oblong-shaped eggs, which will hatch into young snakes during the summer. The mole snake adheres to viviparous reproduction. The mating season for this species is October when the spring season is coming to an end. The female snake produces about 25 to 50 eggs, which subsequently hatch into small snakes.

The stiletto snake and mole snakes are lovely, sleek creatures. But you wouldn’t want to have any of them as your pet, especially the stiletto snake.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Four Oaks/

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