Mehelya is a genus of colubrid Snakes from Africa They are collectively grouped as File Snakes due to their unusual scalation. They are not large snakes growing to around 3–4 feet (90–120 cm.) They are non-venomous. Their diet consists mainly of Snakes and lizards and, as has been noted amongst other cannibalistic snakes, their body shape is triangular, this may slso provide some sort of benefit for them within their burrowing lifestyle.
There are 13 recognized species within the genus: Mehelya.
* Angolan File Snake, Mehelya vernayi (Bogert)
File Snakes are found throughout much of Sub-Saharan Africa, from the Cape of South Africa through Zimbabwe, Botswana to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and further. They generally occupy more humid regions but are found in hotter, desert areas too.
Behaviour and diet
File Snakes are, by nature, burrowers, they will occupy old, abandoned burrows of rodents where they shelter from the heat in the relative coolness underground. They are also adept at burrowing themselves, their flattened head aiding them to push their way through the earth and leaf litter. Their scales are most peculiar, large patches of bare skin are seen and scales are separated by large gaps, these scales are very keeled giving the snake the feel of a file – hence their common name. This species is nocturnal, becoming active at night to hunt its prey – other reptiles. It is a noted feeder on snakes and other small lizards such as geckos. Like many species that feed solely on snakes, it has developed a triangular body shape as opposed to the plump, rounded body of other snakes.
1. ^ "Mehelya (Genus)". Zipcodezoo.com. 2010-01-24. http://zipcodezoo.com/Key/Animalia/Mehelya_Genus.asp. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License