English name: Common Wolf Snake (aka: “Common House Snake”, “House Wolf Snake”)
Scientific name: Lycodon capucinus
Thai name: Ngu Soi-luan
Description: To 76cm long. A small snake of average girth. Head is somewhat flattened. Body is brown to brownish purple with very indistinct pale to yellowish bands that sometimes meld together into reticulations of brown, white, and yellow. Head is brown with pale yellow lips and a pale yellow collar around the neck. Underbelly is whitish to yellow.
Similar Species: Sunbeam Snake also has a white collar as a juvenile, but lacks markings on the rest of the body and has strongly iridescent scales.
Common Bridle Snake is more slender and vertically compressed with more distinct white blotches.
Asian Water Snakes (subfamily Homalopsinae) have thicker bodies and broader heads.
Banded Krait has very distinct, broad dark and light bands and a triangular-shaped body.
Habitat: Naturally found in forest, but has become common in urban areas near small pockets of trees. The Common Wolf Snake is often found inside homes, where it preys on geckos and small rodents. It is semi-arboreal and can be seen climbing walls at night.
Contribution to the ecosystem: The Common Wolf Snake helps control lizard populations, especially geckos and skinks. It also feeds on frogs, small mice and baby rats in the home. This snake is eaten by larger snakes and monitors.
Danger to humans: This small snake is completely harmless to humans.
Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats. The Common Wolf Snake was recently found to have colonized Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, where it is negatively impacting local skink populations and is regarded as an invasive species.
Interesting facts: The Common Wolf Snake has a number of special adaptations in its teeth that may help it to swallow hard-bodied, smooth prey like the skinks it eats. These include enlarged front teeth to help encircle the skink and prevent it from getting out of the mouth, short spatulate middle teeth to help catch under the skink’s scales, and long blade-like rear teeth to slice through the hard scales of the skink.
Nature Malaysia: House Wolf Snake
Ecology Asia: Common House Snake
Dentitional specialisations for durophagy in the Common Wolf snake, Lycodon aulicus capucinus
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand</a
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Snakes of South Vietnam
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia