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Indo-Chinese Sand Snake

01 May

Psammophis indochinensis

Indo-Chinese Sand Snake (Psammophis indochinensis) chiang mai thailand

Indo-Chinese Sand Snake found in Chiang Mai Province (photo courtesy of Paul Donatus)

Indo-Chinese Sand Snake (Psammophis indochinensis) chiang mai thailand

View of Indo-Chinese Sand Snake from above (photo courtesy of Paul Donatus)

Indo-Chinese Sand Snake (Psammophis indochinensis) chiang mai thailand

Head shot of Indo-Chinese Sand Snake (photo courtesy of Paul Donatus)

Indo-Chinese Sand Snake (Psammophis condenarus)

Captive-bred Indo-Chinese Sand Snake (photo courtesy of http://save-snakes.com)

English name: Indo-Chinese Sand Snake
Scientific name: Psammophis indochinensis (formerly known as Psammophis condanarus indochinensis)
Thai name: Ngu Man-tong

Description: To 107cm long. A slender snake with an oval head. Its upper body is olive to buff with four dark brown stripes, splitting the body evenly into dark and light stripes. Underbelly is yellow with a thin black line bordering each side.

Similar Species: Painted Bronzeback has a black stripe on its side that goes through the eye, a much broader brown area on its back, and a white underbelly.
Buff-striped Keelback lacks the brown stripes on the side of the light stripes, and has dark bands all along the body.
Striped Kukri Snake has a light stripe down the middle of its back, has less distinct striping, has characteristic dark markings on its head, and has a red or pink underbelly.
Rainbow Water Snake is much thicker, is darker with less distinct striping, and is almost always found in the water.

Habitat: Lives in moist open woodland, scrubland, grassland, and agricultural land. Is often found climbing trees and bushes, but will also rest in burrows.

Contribution to the ecosystem: The Indo-Chinese Sand Snake helps control rodent, frog and lizard populations. It also feeds on smaller snakes. This snake is eaten by larger snakes, birds of prey, and monitors.

Danger to humans: Has rear fangs but is not dangerous to humans. The bite may cause some swelling.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats – lives over a wide range and appears to be able to adapt well to human-altered habitat. However, it is rarely seen in the Bangkok area.

Interesting facts: The Indo-Chinese Sand Snake gets its name from its use of habitats with sandy soils, where it takes shelter in the burrows of other animals.

References:
IUCN Red List: Psammophis condanarus
Thailand Snakes! IndoChinese Sand Snake
Michael Cota, personal communication
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

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