Stiletto Snake vs Wolf Snake: What are the Differences?

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Published: April 22, 2022
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At a glance, it is easy to mistake the stiletto snake for the wolf snake. Both snakes look similar: they are beautiful slender snakes but deadly, just like many snakes. However, they are so different from each other. And what are the differences between a stiletto snake and a wolf snake? Let’s find out in this post. 

Comparing a Stiletto Snake to a Wolf Snake

A stiletto snake differs from a wolf snake in color.


Stiletto SnakeWolf Snake
SizeIt can grow up to 16 inches long.It can grow up to 20 inches long.
Scientific nameAtractaspis Bibronii
They belong to the Lamprophiidae family.
Lycodon capucinus
They belong to the Colubridae family.
ColorThe color varies, but it is mostly grey.The color varies, but it is mostly reddish-brown.
VenomThis snake is quite venomous.This snake is mildly venomous.
DistributionThis snake is primarily found in Africa and some parts of Asia.This snake is found in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

The Key Differences Between a Stiletto Snake and a Wolf Snake

The stiletto snake is so similar to the wolf snake that people often mix them up. At first, it might be difficult to tell the difference because they are both slender, dark in color, and quick. But the most significant difference between them is the shape of their tails. The tail of the stiletto ends in a tall, slender point. On the other hand, the tail of the wolf snake is just long and thin, not pointed. Their coloring and patterns are also different in some cases, especially in their young ones.

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Let’s dive deeper into the differences between these snakes.

Stiletto vs Wolf Snake: Size and Appearance

The venomous Bibron's Stiletto Snake. The entire body of the snake features a range of dark brown to black colors.
Stiletto snakes usually grow up to 16 inches long.


The stiletto snake and wolf snake are quite similar in size because they are both slender and don’t grow freakishly long. The stiletto snake sometimes grows longer than the wolf snake, although it’s just by a couple of centimeters. 

The stiletto snake doesn’t grow so big; it is usually around 12 inches to 16 inches in length. The color of a stiletto snake ranges from dark brown to grey to solid black and even purple, depending on the type. The stiletto snake looks pretty harmless, but you don’t want to take a personal selfie with them. Stiletto snakes have large fangs that point towards the outside of their mouths with no other visible movements. They also have tiny eyes on top of their heads and prominent snouts.

Wolf snakes usually grow up to 20 inches in length. They have enlarged front teeth, but they are not used to inject venom. These snakes have their real fangs close to the back of their mouths, which they use to strike their attackers. Their snout is somewhat shaped like the bill of a little duck, which is pretty rare.

Stiletto vs Wolf Snake: Color Types

Indian Wolf Snake
Wolf snakes are more colorful than stiletto snakes.

©sushil kumudini chikane/

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 specimens have their unique belly coloration.

The wolf snake is more colorful than the stiletto snake, and they have more interesting patterns. Their coloring adapts to their habitat, the ground, and forest floors. This snake can come in either a dark grey, reddish-brown, or different shades of black. They have spots scattered all over their bodies; these spots can be either pale yellow or white. It also has a noticeable white band around its neck. Some wolf snakes are albinos, but they are pretty rare.

Stiletto vs Wolf Snake: 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 have cytotoxic venom.

©Willem Van Zyl/

The stiletto snake is one of the deadliest snakes in the world. They are deadly not necessarily because of their toxicity but because of how the fangs are fixed. This snake’s venom contains cytotoxins which can cause severe pain, blisters, and swelling. The venom is dangerous because it can melt the bone so quickly, and antivenom won’t help. The venom won’t kill you, but it causes excruciating pain and discomfort. And you could lose a limb.

The wolf snake is pretty harmless to humans, but it is venomous. The good thing about it is that the venom is mild compared to other snakes. Bites from this snake do not cause any severe damage or result in any serious harm. Most bites only cause painful swelling.

Stiletto vs Wolf: Feeding

Both of these snakes are carnivorous in nature and mostly feast on small animals. The stiletto snake’s diet majorly includes small animals, for instance, burrowing small reptiles, small rodents, and birds.

The wolf snake enjoys the taste of lizards and geckos. If they have the opportunity to feast on small frogs, they will. When in captivity, the wolf snake can be trained to feast on small fishes and, very rarely, mice.

Stiletto vs Wolf: Distribution

The stiletto snake is majorly found in Southern Africa, but it has other not-too-common geographical locations. Stiletto snakes love to live in locations that are grassy and can conceal them pretty well.

The wolf snake commonly occurs in Asian regions like Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Southern China, the Philippines, Peninsular Malaysia, the Lesser Sundas, and a couple of other not-so-common locations.

Stiletto vs Wolf Snake: Reproduction 

The stiletto snake loves staying underground, but it comes up occasionally to mate. They pick their mate, and after the process, the already mated female lays about 2-17 oblong-shaped eggs during summer. These eggs subsequently hatch into young snakes.

Old wolf snakes are oviparous in nature, while the new school ones are viviparous. The females lay about 3 to 11 eggs during the mating season, and the eggs hatch around October or thereabout with the young snakes about 5.7 inches in length.

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