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Category Archives: Banded Snakes

Banded Krait

Bungarus fasciatus

Venomous and Deadly!

Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus Bangladesh

Banded Krait found in fallow field at night in Bangladesh

Banded Krait (Bungarus fasciatus)

Banded Krait in Hong Kong (photo by Kevin Caldwell)

Banded Krait (Bungarus fasciatus)

Another Banded Krait in Hong Kong (photo by Kevin Caldwell)

banded krait Bungarus fasciatus

Banded Krait in Thailand (photo by Michael Cota)

banded krait Bungarus fasciatus

Banded Krait found in forest stream in Cambodia (photo by Jodi Rowley)

banded krait Bungarus fasciatus

Banded Krait in Indonesia (photo by Wolfgang Wuster)

Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus

Banded Krait in Malaysia (photo by Max Dehling)

Banded krait (Bungarus fasciatus)

Banded Krait in Vietnam (photo by Scott Trageser, naturestills.com)

Banded krait (Bungarus fasciatus)

Front view of Banded Krait (photo by Scott Trageser, naturestills.com)

Banded krait (Bungarus fasciatus)

Head shot of Banded Krait (photo by Scott Trageser, naturestills.com)

Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus crossing road in Khao Yai

Banded Krait crossing road at night in Khao Yai (photo by Curtis Hart)

Banded Krait Bungarus fasciatus Bangladesh eating wolf snake

Banded Krait eating Indian Wolf Snake in Bangladesh

banded krait Bungarus fasciatus eating frog legs

Banded Krait eating frog legs at the Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

English name: Banded Krait
Scientific name: Bungarus fasciatus
Thai name: Ngu Samlaem

Description: To 212 cm long. Triangular body with a high vertebral ridge and a short, blunt tail. Head is broad and flattened and eyes are small. Body is marked with distinct dark and light bands of equal width. Bands are usually black and yellow, but can be black and white in some individuals. Underbelly is the same color as the top of the snake. Head is black with a yellow chin/throat and a narrow yellow inverted-V on the top.

Similar Species: Common Bridle Snake has a more slender, vertically compressed body, longer tail, less distinct bands near the tail, and never has yellow bands.
Common Wolf snake does not have the triangular body shape and has less distinct bands.
Red-tailed Pipe Snake has a round rather than triangular body, much narrower light bands, and a broader tail.
Malayan Krait has a more rounded body, long tail, and narrower head.
Sea Snakes (family Hydrophiinae) and Sea Kraits (family Laticauda) have a paddle-shaped tail and are found in marine habitats.

Habitat: Found in lightly forested areas, shrubland, open plains, marshes, and agricultural land, often near human habitations. Can be found on the coast and will enter salt water. Hides under rocks and logs or in termite mounds, rodent burrows, drains, or houses during the day, waiting until dark to become active and hunt.

Place in the ecosystem: Eats other snakes, lizards, frogs, and fish. Is eaten by larger snakes and birds of prey.

Danger to humans: When disturbed, the Banded Krait will often thrash about and try to hide its head rather than biting. That doesn’t change the fact that it is one of the deadliest snakes in Thailand. Under no circumstances should you handle or harass this snake, or any other banded snake unless you have made a 100% positive identification. See “Interesting Facts” for more specifics.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats in Thailand. Is listed in CITES Appendix II and is considered “Endangered” in China and Singapore.

Interesting facts: Though not quite as deadly as its notorious relative the Many-banded Krait, the Banded Krait is still one of the deadliest snakes in Thailand. Most bites happen to people who step on a krait or try to pick one up. Always be careful to watch your step when in potential snake country, and never pick up any snake unless you are 100% confident what species it is and know that species to be harmless.

Kraits have a “neurotoxic” venom that is fast-acting and primarily affects the nervous system. Initial symptoms are abdominal cramps (due to gastrointestinal hemorrhaging), nausea and disorientation, progressing to difficulty in speech, tremors, and seizures, and eventually complete paralysis. Breathing becomes more difficult as the venom takes effect and death usually results from respiratory failure. Heart failure is also possible due to the cardiotoxicity of the venom. Death can occur within 5 to 20 hours without treatment (faster if a vein is bitten), but injection of the correct antivenom will reverse the symptoms if done speedily enough. A quick trip to the nearest hospital will usually save the victim’s life. Artificial respiration may be necessary if the victim’s breathing stops before the antivenom has the chance to be administered or take full effect. Necrosis of the flesh can develop in the days following the bite if the victim survives the initial symptoms.

If you or someone you are with is bitten by a Banded Krait, the most important steps are to:

1) Keep the victim calm, having them lie down with the bite mark below the heart if possible.
2) Take a picture of the snake to confirm identification for the hospital.
3) Get the victim to a hospital immediately where professional treatment can take place and antivenom can be given.
4) Start rescue breathing if the victim’s breathing stops and continue until they are in the care of medical professionals.

References:
Wikipedia: Bungarus fasciatus
Wikipedia: Bungarus
Hong Kong University: Banded Krait
Ecology Asia: Banded Krait
Wild Singapore: Banded Krait
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
Snakes of Thailand and their Husbandry
Snake Bites and their Treatment
Simon and Schuster’s Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of the World

 

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Banded Kukri Snake

Oligodon fasciolatus

Banded Kukri Snake (Oligodon fasciolatus) khao yai thailand

Banded Kukri Snake in Khao Yai (photo by Bernard DuPont)

Banded Kukri Snake (Oligodon fasciolatus) khao yai thailand

Head shot of Banded Kukri Snake (photo by Bernard DuPont)

Oligodon fasciolatus Michael Cota_files

Banded Kukri Snake found in Thailand (photo by Michael Cota)

Sattahip District Ray Hamilton Banded Kukri Snake

Banded Kukri Snake found in Chonburi Province (photo by Ray Hamilton)

Banded Kukri Snake Oligodon fasciolatus found on path

Banded Kukri Snake found on running path at night in Chatuchak

Banded Kukri Snake Oligodon fasciolatus side view

Side view of Banded Kukri Snake

Banded Kukri Snake Oligodon fasciolatus head shot

Banded Kukri Snake head shot

Juvenile Banded Kukri Snake (Oligodon fasciolatus)

Juvenile Banded Kukri Snake found under log in Chatachuk

Juvenile Banded Kukri Snake (Oligodon fasciolatus) in defensive position

Juvenile Banded Kukri Snake in defensive position

banded kukri Oligodon fasciolatus

Banded Kukri Snake at the Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

English name: Banded Kukri Snake (aka “Fasciolated Kukri Snake”)
Scientific name: Oligodon fasciolatus
Thai name: Ngu Pi-kaeo Lai Tae

Description: To 88 cm long. One of the largest kukri snakes, the Banded Kukri Snake is fairly robust with a short head. Its body can be either brown, yellowish-olive, red, or gray. Dark blotches are found on the body at wide intervals, separated by small dark crossbars which in some individuals diffuse into a reticulated pattern. The head has an eyestripe that runs through both eyes and all the way down below the jaw, as well as another pair of marks extending behind the eyes. The underbelly is reddish when the snake is young, but fades to white by adulthood.

Similar Species: Striped Kukri Snake has stripes rather than transverse bands.
Common Wolf Snake has indistinct white bands and a yellowish collar around the neck.
Asian Water Snakes (subfamily Homalopsinae) have thicker bodies and broader heads.

Habitat: Evergreen forest, parks, and agriculture.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Will feed on eggs, lizards, frogs, and small rodents. Sometimes eaten by larger snakes.

Danger to humans: No danger to humans, though its sharp teeth can give a painful bite.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats.

Interesting facts: Kukri snakes have sharp rear teeth that are specially modified to slice open bird, lizard, turtle, and snake eggs, which form an important part of their diet.

References:
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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Common Wolf Snake

Lycodon capucinus

Kevin Messenger hong kong common wolf snake

Common Wolf Snake in Hong Kong (photo by Kevin Messenger)

Tom Charlton Common Wolf Snake Komodo Island

Common Wolf Snake on Komodo Island (photo by Tom Charlton)

Wolf House Snake (Lycodon capucinus)

Common Wolf Snake in Singapore (photo by David Greonewoud)

Wolf House Snake (Lycodon capucinus)

Common Wolf Snake in Thailand (photo by Michael Cota)

Common House Snake Lycodon capucinus

Common Wolf Snake found in Singapore (Image by Nick Baker, ecologyasia.com)

Common House Snake (Lycodon capucinus)

Common Wolf Snake found in house in Vietnam (photo by Alex Krohn)

Kurt orionmystery Common Wolf Snake Malaysia 1

Common Wolf Snake found in Malaysia ( photo by orionmystery.blogspot.com)

Kurt orionmystery Common Wolf Snake Malaysia 1

Head shot of Common Wolf Snake (photo by orionmystery.blogspot.com)

Common Wolf Snake (Lycodon capucinus)

Head shot of Common Wolf Snake in Vietnam (photo by Scott Trageser, naturestills.com)

Common House Snake Lycodon capucinus head shot

Common Wolf Snake in Khao Phra Thaew (photo by khaophrathaew.org)

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.
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 mostly eats 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 skinks. 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.

References:
Ecology Asia: Common House Snake
Dentitional specialisations for durophagy in the Common Wolf snake, Lycodon aulicus capucinus
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

 

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Common Bridle Snake

Lycodon davisonii

Common Bridle Snake (Dryocalamus davisonii)

Common Bridle Snake in Thailand (photo by Michael Cota)

Dryocalamus davisonii  Common Bridle Snake Thailand

Common Bridle Snake in Thailand (photo by Alexandre Roux)

Common Bridle Snake (Dryocalamus davisonii)

Common Bridle Snake in Laos (photo by Thomas Calame)

Dryocalamus davisonii  Common Bridle Snake Thailand

Head shot of Common Bridle Snake (photo by Alexandre Roux)

Common Bridle Snake (Dryocalamus davidsonii)

Common Bridle Snake in Vietnam (photo by Scott Trageser, naturestills.com)

Common Bridle Snake (Dryocalamus davidsonii)

Head shot of Common Bridle Snake (photo by Scott Trageser, naturestills.com)

Blanford's Bridal Snake Dryocalamus davisonii

Common Bridle Snake found dead on road in Uttaradit Province (photo by Sjon Hauser)

English name: Common Bridle Snake (aka: “Blanford’s Bridal Snake”)
Scientific name: Lycodon davisonii (formerly Dryocalamus davisonii)
Thai name: Ngu Plong-chanuan India

Description: To 92cm long. A very slender, vertically narrow snake with a long tail and a depressed head. Body is black with white or pale green crossbands that get closer together as they break up into a reticulated pattern towards the tail. Head is mostly white with a black snout and a narrow black line that runs down the middle of the head towards the body. Underbelly is white.

Similar Species: Common Wolf Snake is not as slender, is wider than it is high, and has less distinct banding.
Banded Krait has a thicker, triangular body. Its light and dark bands are of equal width and remain distinct throughout the body.

Habitat: This forest species is semi-arboreal and can be found in bushes and trees as well as on the ground. Is rather secretive and only comes out at night.

Place in the ecosystem: The Common Bridle Snake eats lizards, mostly feeding on geckos. It is eaten by larger snakes.

Danger to humans: This snake rarely bites and is not dangerous to humans.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats. It is not commonly seen in the Bangkok area.

Interesting facts: The Common Bridle Snake is referred to as a “bridle snaks” due to its narrow body and banded coloration, which makes it appear similar to the bridles (reins) used to control horses.

References:
The Reptile Database: Lycodon davisonii
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

 

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Jack’s Water Snake

Homalopsis mereljcoxi

Puff-faced Water Snake Homalopsis mereljcoxi Jack's Water Snake buccata near Bangkok Thailand

Jack’s Water Snake in Nakhon Ratchasima Province (photo by Alex Heimerdinger)

Puff-faced Water Snake Homalopsis mereljcoxi Jack's Water Snake buccata near Bangkok Thailand

Head shot of Jack’s Water Snake (photo by Alex Heimerdinger)

Puff-faced Water Snake Homalopsis buccata near Bangkok Thailand

Jack’s Water Snake (photo by Alex Heimerdinger)

Jack's Water Snake Homalopsis mereljcoxi in  Nakhon Ratchasima Thailand

Jack’s Water Snake (photo by Alex Heimerdinger)

Homalopsis mereljcoxi Jack's Masked Watersnake

Jack’s Water Snake (photo by John Murphy)

Homalopsis mereljcoxi Jack's Masked Watersnake

Jack’s Water Snake (photo by John Murphy)

Puff-faced Water Snake (Homalopsis buccata) adult

Older adult Jack’s Water Snake (photo by Michael Cota)

Jack's Puff-faced Water Snake Homalapsis buccata mereljcoxi Vietnam Alex Krohn

Jack’s Water Snake trapped in Vietnam (photo by Alex Krohn)

Jack's Water Snake Puff-faced Water Snake Homalopsis mereljcoxi buccata roadkill

Jack’s Water Snake killed by car (photo by Alex Heimerdinger)

Jack's Water Snake Puff-faced Water Snake Homalopsis mereljcoxi buccata lumpani bangkok thailand

Jack’s Water Snake that had been released by tourist into Lumpani Park

English name: Jack’s Water Snake (aka “Jack’s Masked Water Snake”, “Puff-faced Water Snake”)
Scientific name: Homalopsis mereljcoxi (formerly Homalopsis buccata)
Thai name: Ngu Hua-kra-lok, Ngu Leuamao

Description: To 137cm long. Robust, somewhat flattened body. Notable broad, brown head with dark eyestripes, a “V” marking on top of the head and an inverted “V” on the snout. Has keeled scales. Body is dark brown to black with narrow light bands that fade in old age. Underside is white to yellow with small black dots.

Similar Species: Bocourt’s Water Snake has no face mask, is thicker and darker with black markings interspersed with the brown.
Red-tailed Pipe Snake has a small, dark head, smooth scales, and a barred underbelly.
Puff-faced Water Snake, which is not found in Bangkok, can only be distinguished by scale counts and range

Habitat: Rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps, rice paddies, drainage ditches, and any other lowland habitat with water, including brackish water. Can be found in the water or on the banks. During the day it hides in burrows and crab holes.

Place in the ecosystem: Jack’s Water Snake eats fish, crustaceans, and frogs. Juveniles of the species are eaten by larger snakes, large fish, monitors, and wading birds.

Danger to humans: Can bite, but rarely does so and is not dangerous to humans.

Conservation status and threats: Due to its broad distribution and ability to live in human-altered habitats, this snake is not considered at risk in Thailand. It is becoming popular in the pet trade, but that has only had an effect on populations at the local level. In nearby countries similar species are declining due to massive collection for food, skins and crocodile feed.

Interesting facts: In September 2010, I came upon a juvenile Jack’s Water Snake in Lumpani Park. Upon viewing and photographing the snake, an American tourist nearby got anxious and stated, “I ask only that you do not harm the snake.” Further inquiry found that he had bought the snake at a Bangkok market and “humanely” released it into the Lumpani Park lakes. He had no idea whether the snake was a native species or whether it was venomous.

Releasing a captive animal into the wild, even a native one, is not good for the local ecosystems. Non-native species, such as the red-eared sliders in the ponds, the Norway rats in the streets, and the English house sparrows in the trees, may prey on, outcompete, or spread disease among local species. And even native species that have spent time in captivity are highly at risk for transmitting disease into the wild populations. If you purchase a captive animal and can no longer care for it, please find a responsible person to take over care for the animal rather than releasing it into the wild.

References:
The IUCN Red List: Homalopsis buccata
A Checklist and Key to the Homalopsid Snakes
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

 

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Red-tailed Pipe Snake

Cylindrophis rufus

Red-tailed Pipe Snake (Cylindrophis ruffus) juvenile in defensive position

Juvenile Red-tailed Pipe Snake flipped under board in Chatuchak

Red-tailed Pipe Snake (Cylindrophis ruffus) dorsal view

Dorsal view of juvenile Red-tailed Pipe Snake

Red-tailed Pipe Snake (Cylindrophis ruffus)

Red-tail Pipe Snake found under mat in Phra Khanong

Red-tailed Pipe Snake Cylindrophis rufus defensive display

When cover is unavailable, the Red-tailed Pipe Snake will hide its head under its own coils

Red-tailed Pipe Snake Cylindrophis rufus tail in defensive display

Close-up of tail in defensive position

juvenile Red-tailed Pipe Snake Cylindrophis rufus found out at night

Juvenile Red-tailed Pipe Snake found moving along ground at night in Bang Kapi

juvenile Red-tailed Pipe Snake Cylindrophis rufus head shot

Head shot of juvenile Red-tailed Pipe Snake

underbelly of juvenile Red-tailed Pipe Snake Cylindrophis rufus

underbelly of juvenile Red-tailed Pipe Snake

Red-tailed Pipe Snake (Cylindrophis ruffus)

Older Red-tailed Pipe Snake found at edge of marsh at night in Prawet

Red-tailed Pipe Snake Cylindrophis rufus Cambodia caught in fisherman's net

Red-tailed Pipe Snake caught in fisherman's net in Battembong, Cambodia

English name: Red-tailed Pipe Snake
Scientific name: Cylindrophis rufus
Thai name: Ngu Kon-kob, Ngu Song Hua

Description: To 100cm long. The thick cylindrical body is what gives it the name “pipe snake”, though it will flatten its body when engaging in its defensive display. Head is small and unmarked with very small eyes that are difficult to find. Tall is short and tapers quickly to a point. Scales are small, smooth, and iridescent. The body is dark brown to black; juveniles have narrow white bands that turn reddish brown and eventually fade out completely with age. Some populations lack the dorsal bands. Underside has striking black and white bands. The tail is orangish-red on bottom.

Similar Species: Sunbeam Snake has a long thin tail and a whitish-gray belly without banding.
Puff-faced Water Snake has a broad, distinct head with clear markings, all-white underside, and keeled body scales.
Yellow-bellied Water Snake has a broader head and uniform white-to-yellow on the belly with no bands.
Banded Krait has a triangle-shaped body and much broader bands.

Habitat: Humid lowland areas, including forests, swamps, rice paddies, and other agricultural land with moist soft ground where it can dig. Usually found in or near water. Can tolerate brackish water. Spends the day inside vegetation or under cover, coming out at night to hunt.

Place in the ecosystem: The Red-tailed Pipe Snake feeds on grubs, worms, eels, frogs and small snakes. It is eaten by larger snakes and monitors.

Danger to humans: None – has small head and is reluctant to bite. While it is a rear-fanged snake that can produce some venom, its bite is not dangerous to humans.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation issues. It is occasionally caught in fisherman’s nets and used for food and crocodile feed.

Interesting facts: This snake exhibits an unusual defensive display when threatened, hiding its head while lifting its red tail above its body and flattening it in a manner reminiscent of a cobra’s head. Some sources state that this display appears to mimic that of southeast Asian coral snakes (family Calliophis), while others note the similarities to the cobra. The Thai names for this snake refer directly to the defensive display, including “Ngu Kon Khob”, translated “End of Tail Can Bite Snake”, and “Ngu Sawng Hua”, translated “Two Head Snake”.

When traveling I found a still alive but hopelessly trapped Red-tailed Pipe Snake caught in a discarded fisherman’s net. The poor snake was destined to drown or starve to death. Unfortunately, this is not the only snake I’ve found in this situation. Nets and other netting-like trash can lead to the deaths of many snakes when not properly disposed of.

References:
University of Hong Kong: Cylindrophis ruffus
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Snakes of South Vietnam
Snakes of Thailand and their Husbandry
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of the World

 

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Little File Snake

Acrochordus granulatus

Jordan de Jong little file snake Acrochordus granulatus

Little File Snake (photo by Jordan de Jong)

Jordan de Jong little file snake Acrochordus granulatus

Close-up of Little File Snake (photo by Jordan de Jong)

jason isley marine file snake Acrochordus granulatus

Little File Snake off the coast of Malaysia (photo by Jason Isley)

jason isley marine file snake Acrochordus granulatus

Head shot of Little File Snake (photo by Jason Isley)

File Snake (Acrochordus granulatus) Sri Lanka Kanishka Ukuwela Sri Lanka

Little File Snake in Sri Lanka (photo by Kanishka Ukuwela)

Little Wart Snake Singapore

Little File Snake washed up on shore in Singapore (photo by Ria Tan)

Granular File Snake Acrochordus granulatus head shot Singapore

Head shot of another Little File Snake (photo by Ria Tan)

Pat McCarthy Little File Snake (Acrochordus granulatus) Australia mating

Little File Snakes mating on shore in Australia (photo by Pat McCarthy)

Pat McCarthy Little File Snake (Acrochordus granulatus) australia

Close-up of head of Little File Snake (photo by Pat McCarthy)

Marine File Snake Acrochordus granulatus underbelly showing pattern and scales

Underbelly of Little File Snake (photo by Ria Tan)

English name: Little File Snake (aka: “Little Wart Snake”, “Marine File Snake”, “Banded File Snake”)
Scientific name: Acrochordus granulatus
Thai name: Ngu Pa-ki-reu, Ngu Pa-ki-reu Lai

Description: To 125cm long. Females are stout, while males are comparatively slender. Skin hangs loosely on the body and is covered with small pyramid-like scales that are rough to the touch, giving it the common name “file snake” or the alternative name “wart snake”. Head is flat and wide with the nostrils and eyes positioned on top. Tail is round and prehensile. Body is olive, blue, brown or black with white to beige bands.

Similar Species: Javan Wart Snake is larger and has broken-up dark lines/blotches rather than transverse light bands.
Keel-bellied Water Snake is more slender, lacks the loose skin, and has a clear white belly.
Banded Krait has a triangle-shaped body and lacks the loose skin.
Sea Snakes of the Elapidae family have a paddle-shaped tail.

Habitat: The Little File Snake is found in the ocean as well as in estuaries, swamps, ponds, and rivers in coastal areas. It is almost entirely aquatic and can be found up to 10 km offshore in waters as deep as 20 meters. During the day it buries itself under cover below the water, coming to the surface occasionally to breathe.

Place in the ecosystem: The Little File Snake feeds on fish. Smaller juveniles are eaten by monitors, large fish, and wading birds.

Danger to humans: Has no venom, is usually passive and is not dangerous to humans. However, it can easily be confused with sea snakes, which pack a deadly bite, so exercise caution before handling.

Conservation status and threats: Is common and widespread. Some are collected for the pet trade, for food, or for their skins, but this does not appear to be a threat to their populations. Many are killed accidentally by netting operations in shallow ocean water, but at this point the incidental take appears to be sustainable.

Interesting facts: The Little File Snake contains more blood in its body than similarly-size land snakes, with a much higher concentration of red blood cells. This allows it to stay underwater up to 139 minutes at a time, allowing it to wait patiently for the fish that form its diet.

The male snakes of this species are skinnier and longer than the females, and tend to hunt their prey more actively.

References:
IUCN Redlist: Acrochordus granulatus
Wikipedia: Acrochordus granulatus
Wild Singapore: Banded File Snake
Blood oxygen stores in the File Snake, Acrochordus granulatus, and in other marine snakes
Sexual Size Dimorphism and Reproductive Cycle of the Little File Snake Acrochordus granulatus in Phangnga Bay, 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
Snakes of Thailand and their Husbandry
Graeme Gow’s Complete Guide to Australian Snakes

 

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