The Slug Snakes, also known as “Slug-eating Snakes”, are a family of small, secretive snakes found in moist regions of Thailand’s hills and mountains. Most species are actually snail specialists, though they will also eat slugs and in some cases lizards when available. They fit their mouths into the entrance of a snail’s curved shell, with specialized jaws that have more teeth on one side than the other to more effectively reach in and pull out the snail.
Thailand’s Slug Snakes come in a few distinct groups. The Spotted Slug Snake and White-spotted Slug Snake are small grey snakes with white and black spots which tend to stick to the forest floor. The Keeled Slug Snake and Hampton’s Slug Snake are slender brownish snakes which prefer low vegetation. Malayan Slug Snake and Smooth Slug Snake are rarely seen species with streamlined heads and often a vertebral line, and in Thailand are restricted to the far south. Finally the Blunt-headed Slug Snake is unique in its extreme slenderness, stout head, and clouded pattern, and is a climbing species of southern Thailand.
Several of these pairs are quite difficult to distinguish between to the point which you’ll have to pay careful attention to their scales. They can also be unique in habitat utilized, often with one species preferring lower elevations and the other higher. You can learn how to distinguish them with the following key:
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