Rondebosch Common is a wonderful place for wildlife watching throughout the year, from the tiniest insects to rodents, reptiles and amphibians. 


There are many different butterflies that can be seen on the Common. Cape Autumn Widows (Dira clytus clytus), Cabbage Wing Butterflies (Pieris brassicae) and  African Grass Blue Butterflies (Zizeeria knysna) are low flying butterflies that are resident on the Common.

High flying butterflies such as Garden Acraeas (Acraea horta) also visit the Common. However, they are usually passing through as Protea shrubs form part of their life cycle.

During spring, you are likely to find an abundance of monkey beetles (Hopliini tribe). Also known as scarab beetles, they are found visiting all the main groups of flowers such as daisies, irises and orchids.

Large Golden Orb spider webs are found between the Passerina corymbosa bushes on the eastern side of the Common, with their colourful webmasters waiting patiently for a meal.  Meanwhile entomologists continue to look for the (presumed) extinct stick insect (Chloranthia capemontana) on Rondebosch Common.


The only mammals known to be resident on Rondebosch Common are rodents. Of the three types of moles found, the Cape Dune Molerat (Bathyergus suillus) and the Cape Molerat (Georychus capensis) are herbivorous, eating bulbs and roots. 

The smallest of the subterranean mammals on Rondebosch Common, the Cape Golden Mole (Chrysochloris asiatica), is insectivorous. You can often see their tunnels on the western side of the Common. 

The various rodent species on the Common are an important food source for the birds of prey. Striped field mice (Rhabdomys pumilio) live in underground burrows, consuming a diet of insects, seeds and other plant material. The African Grey Climbing Mouse (Dendromus melanotis) is also thought to be present on the Common. 


Tortoises are important for seed dispersal in fynbos lowland habitats. However, angulate and parrot-beaked tortoises are locally extinct on Rondebosch Common. 

The reptile you are most likely to encounter on Rondebosch Common is the Mole Snake (Pseudaspis cana). They are often observed sunning themselves on or near paths. Mole Snakes are harmless and a key link in the food chain, keeping a balanced rodent population. 

Other non-venomous snakes found on Rondebosch Common include the Aurora House Snake (Lamprophis aurora), Common Slug Eater (Duberria lutrix) and Cape Thread Snake (Leptotyphlops conjunctus). The harmless Cape Dwarf Burrowing Skink (Scelotes caffer) are sometimes mistaken for being snakes but are in fact legless lizards.

Herald Snakes (Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia) are also found on the Common. They are mildly venomous but non-lethal to humans and domestic animals.


During the wettest months of the year, you are likely to hear Clicking Stream Frogs (Strongylopus grayii) and the Cape Sand Toad (Vandijkophrynus angusticeps) calling. You will see tadpoles in seasonal ponds and puddles. Collecting them is not allowed as they are part of the ecosystem and they are unlikely to survive being transferred.

The Endangered Western Leopard Toad (Sclerophrys pantherina) was once known to breed on Rondebosch Common but is now considered locally extinct. The Cape Caco frog (Cacosternum capense) has also not been observed on the Common for many years.


Read about the birds on the Common here: Birds of Rondebosch Common