RSS

Rainbow Water Snake

23 Apr

Enhydris enhydris

Rainbow Water Snake Enhydris enhydris

Rainbow Water Snake found in Pathum Thani Province (photo courtesy of Michael Cota)

Rainbow Water Snake Enhydris enhydris Vietnam Alex Krohn

Rainbow Water Snake trapped in Vietnam (photo courtesy of Alex Krohn)

Rainbow Water Snake Enhydris enhydris Vietnam Alex Krohn 1

Snake in hand, showing underbelly coloration (photo courtesy of Alex Krohn)

Rainbow Water Snake enhydris maetha lampang

Head shot of Rainbow Water Snake found in Lampang Province (photo courtesy of Bernard DuPont)

Rainbow Water Snake enhydri enhydris lake sonhkla

Rainbow Water Snake found in Lake Songkhla (photo courtesy of John Murphy)

Rainbow Water Snake Enhydris enhydris

Rainbow Water Snake in captivity in Bangkok (photo courtesy of Wolfgang Wuster)

Tom Williams enhydris enhydris Rainbow Water Snake Pathum Thani

Juvenile Rainbow Water Snake found in Pathum Thani (photo courtesy of Tom Williams)

Water Snakes for sale in Vietnamese market

Water Snakes for sale in Vietnamese market (photo courtesy of Alex Krohn)

Common Smooth-scaled Water Snake kolkata india dead

Rainbow Water Snake killed by field worker in India

Rainbow Water Snake enhydris enhydris dor

Rainbow Water Snake found dead on road in India

English name: Rainbow Water Snake (aka “Rainbow Mud Snake”, “Striped Water Snake”, “Schneider’s Water Snake”)
Scientific name: Enhydris enhydris
Thai name: Ngu Sai-rung, Ngu Plaa

Description: To 97cm long. Robust body with relatively small head for a water snake. Scales are smooth and iridescent. Olive-brown above with two yellow or reddish stripes bordered by dark stripes on the top and sides. White to yellow below with a dark stripe or dots down the center of belly.

Similar Species: Yellow-bellied Water Snake has a broader head and lacks colored lines.
Sunbeam Snake has a wedge-shaped head, more iridescent scales, and lacks colored lines on its body.
Red-tailed Pipe Snake lacks colored lines and has a barred underbelly.
Chanard’s Mud Snake has a broader head and dark spots above the line running down its side.
Jagor’s Water Snake has a broader head and dark blotches running down its side.

Habitat: A highly aquatic species that is always found in or near wetlands. Is found in a wide range of aquatic habitats, including manmade lakes and ponds. Spends most of its time hunting just off the shore, taking advantage of the tangles of vegetation in the mud at the water’s edge. Is rarely seen in the open, preferring to remain underwater or within vegetation mats and tangles. Does not tolerate brackish water.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Primarily keeps fish populations in balance, but also feeds on frogs and tadpoles. Provides food for larger snakes, large fish, monitors, and wading birds.

Danger to humans: Like other water snakes in its family, the Rainbow Water Snake has a very mild rear-fanged venom that does not pose a threat to humans.

Conservation status and threats: Due to its ability to survive in a wide range of habitats and tolerate human encroachment, the Rainbow Water Snake is a very common species in Thailand. However, a recent significant increase in the harvest of water snakes in Cambodia (for food, skins, and crocodile feed) has led to declines in some populations there. As many as four million Rainbow Water Snakes are estimated to be captured from the Tonle Sap Lake every year.

Interesting facts: Water snakes have a number of specialized traits to support their aquatic lifestyle. These include eyes positioned on top of the head (to see prey and threats while remaining underwater), nostrils that can be closed while underwater, and young that are born live (eliminating the need for a dry place to lay eggs).

References:
The IUCN Red List: Enhydris enhydris
Reptile Channel: Mud Snakes
Semi-aquatic Snake Communities in the Central Plain Region of Thailand
The Ecology of the Water Snakes of Ban Tha Hin, Songkhla Province, Thailand
Nature Malaysia: Rainbow Water Snake
Siam-Info: Homalopsinae
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
A Field Guide to the Snakes of South Vietnam

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s