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Diadem snake
- Spalerosophis diadema

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Quite large, reaching some 150-200 cm length. the head of the Diadem snake is elongated, slightly triangular and clearly separated from the neck.
Diadem snake
A Clifford's Serpent (Spalerosophis diadema cliffordi) at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo – SuperJew, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Origin / Distribution

The Diadem snake (Spalerosophis diadema) inhabits from northwestern Africa and Asia Minor, through the Arabian Peninsula to Pakistan, Nepal and North India.

Three subspecies of S. diadema, including the nominotypic subspecies, and are found as follows.

  • Spalerosophis diadema cliffordi (Schlegel, 1837) – from Morocco to Egypt and Israel (type locality: Tripoli, Libya)
  • Spalerosophis diadema diadema (Schlegel, 1837) – in India, Pakistan (type locality: about “Bombay”, India)
  • Spalerosophis diadema schiraziana (Jan, 1865) – Zagros Mountains and the Bushire region in western Iran, east to southern Turkmenistan in Afghanistan and India; Pakistan (type locality: Shiraz, Iran)

  • Characteristics / Appearance

    Quite large, reaching some 150-200 cm length. The head is elongated, slightly triangular and clearly separated from the neck. The eyes are large, with a round pupil that constricts to a point in bright light. Basic coloration varies, can be gray, yellow, ocher or reddish with red or brown spots on the middle of the back and smaller spots on the flanks.


    The Diadem snake lives in the ground, often found under stones, in rock crevices or rodent burrows, feeding on lizards and small rodents. Largely diurnal in spring, hunt at night in summer, mainly mice and rats. hibernate during 2-3 months. Mating takes place in May. They are of 2 to 16 eggs, glued together to form a clutch. The young hatch after about four months.


    The Diadem snake it is not dangerous for humans, or it is very little. The poison has only a weak toxic effect. They mainly live in rocky deserts. During periods of rest, they seek refuge in the burrows of rodents.. They are both day and night, according to the season of the year.


    Mating season usually begins shortly after hibernation, which is usually from March or April. Shortly after successful mating, the female lays between 5 and 10 eggs, rarely more, in a shallow depression in the ground, depending on age and nutritional status. Depending on the ambient temperature, The young are born after 60 to 90 days. They have a hatching length of 27 to 30 centimeters and fend for themselves immediately after hatching. The female does not take care of the young.. At the beginning, young snakes feed mainly on small lizards and other small animals. Under favorable circumstances and depending on the subspecies, life expectancy is 13 to 15 years.

    Threats to the species

    The species is not listed on the IUCN Red List, what should be checked.

    International trade is not regulated by CITES.

    The "Diadem snake" in captivity

    The terrarium

    The Diadem snake can reach a maximum length of 150 cm and live until 15 years. For this large exotic species, a terrarium of at least 150 x 75 x 50 cm.. A mixture of sand and bark mulch is suitable as a substrate. Spalerosophis diadema also likes climbing facilities and hiding places. stone or rock structures, roots or branches are suitable for it.

    The daytime temperature should be between 25 and 30°C with low humidity (the ventilation of the terrarium is more important than the humidity). The night temperature should be reduced to 24°C. The Diadem snake during the winter months 2-3 months and the temperature should be between 10 y 16°C. Humidity, for its part, should be about 60 %.

    The Diadem snake feeds on lizards and small rodents. The size of the food depends on the size of the snake. We feed the snakes with frog mice.

    breeding of the Diadem snake in the terrarium

    The Diadem snake (Spalerosophis diadema) has already been successfully bred in the terrarium. females lay eggs. A clutch can contain some 10 eggs. After 2 to 3 months, hatchlings hatch.

    Buy one "Diadem snake"

    The price of a "Diadem snake" at the exotic animal market, ranges between 150 – 200 EUR.

    Videos "Diadem snake"

    Desert snake / diadem snake , Spalerosophis diadema

    Diadem rat snake - Spalerosophis diadema cliffordi

    Alternative names:

    1. Diadem snake, Royal snake (English).
    2. Couleuvre à diadème (French).
    3. Diademschlange, Königsschlange (German).
    4. Cobra diadema, Cobra real (Portuguese).
    5. "Serpiente de Diadema", Serpiente real, Culebra de Diadema (español).

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