The rufous beaked snake (Rhamphiophis oxyrhynchus) is a species of mildly venomous colubrid endemic to East Africa. It is named for its hooked snout, which it uses to dig burrows, and for its reddish-brown back scales. It hunts small animals during the day with the help of its venomous bite.
The two subspecies are R.o. oxyrhynchus (J.T. Reinhardt, 1843) and R.o. rostratus W. Peters, 1854. Some authorities consider the latter to be a species, R. rostratus W. Peters, 1854.
The rufous beaked snake is large and stout, with males reaching a maximum length of 1.1Â m (3.6Â ft) and females reaching 1.07Â m (3.5Â ft). It has a shortened skull, as with all beaked snakes, giving it a clear distinction between its head and body, as well as a dark brown eye stripe running down the side of its head. Its eyes are large with round pupils. While its back tends to be yellowish-brown to reddish-brown, its belly is cream or yellowish-white.
The rufous beaked snake's range includes north Botswana, north Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Sudan.
It primarily inhabits bushveld and thornveld habitats.
Diurnal animals, rufous beaked snakes hunt small animals, including other snakes, but stay in burrows during the hottest part of the day. In the summer, females lay eight to 17 cylindrical eggs with dimensions of about 36Â mm ÃÂ 21Â mm (1.42Â in ÃÂ 0.83Â in) over the span of several days. The snake's venom, one of its components of which is a neurotoxin called rufoxin, causes hypotension and circulatory shock in small mammals, but is not dangerous to humans.