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Category Archives: Nonvenomous snakes in Bangkok

Oriental Rat Snake

Ptyas mucosa

Kevin Messenger hong kong Ptyas mucosus

Oriental Rat Snake in Hong Kong (photo by Kevin Messenger)

Oriental Rat Snake ptyas mucosus taiwan

Oriental Rat Snake on road in Taiwan (photo by Hans Breuer)

Oriental Rat Snake ptyas mucosus Taiwan defensive display

Oriental Rat Snake expanding neck (photo by Hans Breuer)

Common Rat Snake Ptyas muscosa

Oriental Rat Snake in tree in Hong Kong (photo by Thomas Brown)

Ptyas mucosa Thomas Brown China

Oriental Rat Snake found at night in China (photo by Thomas Brown)

Oriental Rat Snake  Ptyas mucosus

Oriental Rat Snake as found in forest in India

Indian Rat Snake Ptyas muscosa Kolkata water

Oriental Rat Snake cruising through a pond in India

Oriental Rat Snake  Ptyas mucosus

Juvenile Oriental Rat Snake caught in lake in India

oriental rat snake Ptyas mucosus head shot

Head Shot of Oriental Rat Snake at the Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

oriental rat snake Ptyas mucosus eating frog

Oriental Rat Snake eating frog at the Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

English name: Oriental Rat Snake
Scientific name: Ptyas mucosa (formerly Ptyas mucosus)
Thai name: Ngu Sing Hang Lai, Ngu Sing Dong

Description: To 370cm long. The largest snake in Bangkok other than the pythons. Eyes are notably large. Tail is especially long. Body is light brown to black above with narrow black crossbands on the last third of the body that become more indistinct with age. Juveniles are olive and usually have light crossbands on the front two-thirds of the body. Underbelly is grayish white to yellow with thin black banding.

Similar Species: Indo-Chinese Rat Snake lacks the black crossbands on the last third of its body.
Monacled Cobra has smaller eyes, a blunter head, and a characteristic marking on the back of the neck/head that expands when displaying.
Yellow-spotted Keelback has black markings on the entire body.

Habitat: Can be found in almost any habitat from thick jungle to agricultural fields and parks. Appears to prefer open woodland, scrubland, lightly treed grassland, and parks, possibly tending towards drier landscapes than the Indo-Chinese Rat Snake. Spends most of its time on the ground but climbs well and will often sleep in trees. Will enter human dwellings while hunting rats.

Place in the ecosystem: Primarily preys on rats and helps control rodent populations in Bangkok. Will also feed on squirrels, bats, frogs, lizards, smaller snakes, birds, and even turtles. Its juveniles provide food for larger snakes, monitors and birds of prey.

Danger to humans: This large snake becomes aggressive and strikes repeatedly when cornered, potentially drawing blood. However, it is non-venomous and cannot cause any serious injury.

Conservation status and threats: The Oriental Rat Snake has no known conservation issues in Thailand, but is hunted for its meat. Is listed as Endangered in China. In Indonesia, TRAFFIC has raised official concerns due to the large numbers of Oriental Rat Snakes that are exported out of the country outside of official government regulation.

Interesting facts: When threatened this snake will sometimes inflate its neck and make a growling noise. Some herpetologists believe this is mimicry of the King Cobra, a similarly large southeast Asian snake with an extremely venomous bite. Unfortunately, the attempted mimicry may be counterproductive when done towards humans, as anything thought to be a cobra is likely to be killed.

After capturing a potential prey item, the Oriental Rat Snake will use its body to press the animal against the ground or another hard surface until it suffocates, rather than using its coils to wrap around the food like many other snakes.

References:
Snakes of Taiwan: Ptyas mucosa
University of Hong Kong: Ptyas mucosus
Wikipedia: Ptyas mucosus
Wildlife Watch: Future of Asian snakes at state
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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Indo-Chinese Rat Snake

Ptyas korros

Indo-Chinese Rat Snake Ptyas korros

Indo-Chinese Rat Snake from Taiwan (photo by Hans Breuer)

indo-chinese rat snake ptyas korros thailand

Indo-Chinese Rat Snake in Khao Sam Roi Yot (photo by Bernard Dupont)

Ptyas korros  Sa Kaeow Province Michael Cota_files

Indo-Chinese Rat Snake in Sa Kaeow Province (photo by Michael Cota)

Indo-Chinese Rat Snake (Ptyas korros)

Indo-Chinese Rat Snake found in Malaysia (Image by Nick Baker, ecologyasia.com)

Robert Ferguson Ptyas korros

Indo-Chinese Rat Snake found in Hong Kong (photo by Robert Ferguson)

indo-chinese rat snake Ptyas korros

Head shot of Indo-Chinese Rat Snake at the Queen Saovabha Snake Farm

rat snakes bangkok zoo thailand

Head shot of Indo-Chinese Rat Snakes at the Bangkok Zoo (photo by Bernard Dupont)

Captive subadult Indo-Chinese Rat Snake Ptyas korros in hands

Subadult Indo-Chinese Rat Snake in Taiwan (photo by Hans Breuer)

IndoChinese Rat Snake Pytas korras

Young Indo-Chinese Rat Snake in Laos (photo by Thomas Calame)

Indo-Chinese Rat Snake Ptyas korros

Juvenile Indo-Chinese Rat Snake in Chonburi Province (photo by Ray Hamilton)

English name: Indo-Chinese Rat Snake
Scientific name: Ptyas korros
Thai name: Ngu Sing Ban, Ngu Hao Ta-lan

Description: To 256cm long. One of the largest snakes in Bangkok other than the pythons. Brown or olive above, yellowish on the chin and underbelly. Eyes are notably large. Young juveniles have white bands or spots on body.

Similar Species: Oriental Rat Snake has dark bands on the last third of its body.
Monacled Cobra has smaller eyes, loose skin around the neck, and a characteristic marking on the back of the neck/head that expands when displaying.
All other large brown snakes in Bangkok have characteristic stripes, bands, or other markings on the head or body.

Habitat: Prefers open habitat such as grassland, shrubland, open woodland, agriculture, and the open banks of water bodies. Can be found in trees (especially when resting) and is a good swimmer.

Place in the ecosystem: Helps control rodent populations by eating rats and mice, but also feeds on frogs, lizards, smaller snakes, and birds. Their juveniles are eaten by larger snakes, monitors, and birds of prey.

Danger to humans: This large snake is aggressive and can inflict a nasty bite, but it is non-venomous and cannot cause any serious injury.

Conservation status and threats: The Indo-Chinese Rat Snake has no known conservation issues in Thailand, but is hunted for its meat and gallbladder and is listed as endangered in China.

Interesting facts: When captured this snake will thrash its body about violently, which together with its large size makes it difficult to handle.

References:
Snakes of Taiwan: Ptyas korros
University of Hong Kong: Ptyas korros
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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Striped Kukri Snake

Oligodon taeniatus

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus) juvenile

Juvenile Striped Kukri Snake flipped under log in Chatuchak

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus) head view

Head shot of Striped Kukri Snake from above

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus) ventral view

Ventral view of Striped Kukri Snake

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus)

Tail of juvenile Striped Kukri Snake, raised in defensive position

Oligodon taeniatus   Michael Cota Rangsit_files

Striped Kukri Snake in Rangsit (photo by Michael Cota)

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus)

Striped Kukri Snake in Vietnam (photo by Scott Trageser, naturestills.com)

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus)

Tail shot of Striped Kukri Snake (photo courtesy of Scott Trageser, naturestills.com)

Striped Kukri Snake Oligodon taeniatus ventral view

Striped Kukri Snake in Sisaket Province (photo by Wolfgang Wuster)

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus)

Striped Kukri Snake in bathroom in Payao Province (Photo by Phillip Orchard)

View from above showing dorsal markings (Photo by Phillip Orchard)

English name: Striped Kukri Snake (aka “Four-lined Kukri Snake”)
Scientific name: Oligodon taeniatus
Thai name: Ngu Ngod Thai

Description: To 45 cm long. This small snake gets its name from the light stripe with dark border that runs down its back. It also has a thin dark stripe on each side of its body. Background coloration is grey to brown. Underbelly is pink or orangish-red with black markings. There is a dark line that goes through both eyes and three dark blotches positioned on top of the head behind the eyes.

Similar Species: Banded Kukri Snake has transverse blotches rather than stripes and lacks the pattern of dark blotches on the head.
Indo-Chinese Sand Snake has stripes on the side that are lighter than the back, lacks the characteristic dark markings on top of the head, and has a yellow underbelly.

Habitat: Lowland forest, where it will usually hide under stones, wood, or leaves. Can often be found in parks and gardens.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Eats lizards, especially small skinks. Also eats frogs and the eggs of birds and other reptiles. Provides food for larger snakes and monitors.

Danger to humans: No danger to humans – is small and has no venom.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats.

Interesting facts: As a defensive display the Striped Kukri Snake will raise and curl its tail to reveal the red coloration underneath. This may be an attempt to mimic the display of southeast Asian coral snakes.

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

References:
The Reptile Database: Oligodon taeniatus
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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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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Painted Bronzeback

Dendrelaphis pictus

Painted Bronzeback Treesnake (Dendrelaphis pictus)

Painted Bronzeback found in Vietnam (photo by Scott Trageser, http://www.naturestills.com)

Painted Bronzeback Tree snake (Dendrelaphis pictus)

Closeup of Painted Bronzeback (photo by Scott Trageser) naturestills.com

Painted Bronzeback Dendrelaphis pictus

Painted Bronzeback in Krabi Province (photo by Tom Charlton, venomlogic.com)

Painted Bronzeback Common Bronzeback Dendrelaphis pictus in Sumutra

Painted Bronzeback in Sumutra (photo by Curtis Hart)

Painted Bronzeback Dendrelaphis pictus Singapore

Painted Bronzeback in tree in Singapore (photo by Ria Tan)

Common Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis pictus)

Painted Bronzeback in Singapore (Image by Nick Baker, ecologyasia.com)

Thomas Calame Painted Bronzeback Laos

Painted Bronzeback in Laos (photo by Thomas Calame)

Common Bronzeback Dendrelaphis pictus

Painted Bronzeback in Malaysia (photo by Tom Charlton, venomlogic.com)

Painted Bronzeback Dendrelaphis pictus

Head shot of Painted Bronzeback (photo by Tom Charlton, venomlogic.com)

Painted Bronzeback Snake (Dendrelaphis pictus) with ticks Kurt

Head shot of Painted Bronzeback in Malaysia (photo by orionmystery.blogspot.com)

English name: Painted Bronzeback (aka “Common Bronzeback”)
Scientific name: Dendrelaphis pictus
Thai name: Ngu Sai-man Pra Inthra

Description: To 125 cm long. A long, slender snake. Body is olive or brown above with a yellow to cream line running down its side and a thicker black line just above it. Head is bronze above and yellowish below, with a black eyestripe between that connects to the black body line. Belly is pale yellowish.

Similar Species: Indo-Chinese Sand Snake lacks the black line and has yellow lines positioned in the brown background such that the yellow and brown striping have roughly the same width.
Copperhead Racer lacks the yellow stripe and has dark lines radiating from its eye.

Habitat: Found in forests, scrubland, parks, and agriculture. Will sometimes be seen on the edge of small clearings or in other habitat transitions that get more sunlight. Is partially arboreal and often found in bushes or small trees.

Place in the ecosystem: Eats frogs and lizards. Is fed on by larger snakes and birds of prey.

Danger to humans: Will bite if threatened but is not dangerous to humans.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats.

Interesting facts: The Painted Bronzeback is quick and flighty and will usually flee immediately when approached. If it is cornered and can no longer flee it will inflate its body, showing off the bluish skin between its scales.

References:
Ecology Asia: Painted Bronzeback
Wikipedia: Painted Bronzeback
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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Yellow-spotted Keelback

Xenochrophis flavipunctatus

Yellow-spotted Keelback Xenochrophis flavipunctatus on road

Yellow-spotted Keelback found at dusk near ponds in Payao Province

Yellow-spotted Keelback Xenocropis flavipunctus

Yellow-spotted Keelback at edge of marsh in Prawet

Yellow-spotted Keelback head Xenocropis flavipunctus

Head shot of Yellow-spotted Keelback

Michael Cota Xenochrophis flavipunctatus Pathum Thani

Yellow-spotted Keelback in Pathum Thani (photo by Michael Cota)

Yellow-spotted Keelback Xenocropis flavipunctus Vietnam Alex Krohn 1

Yellow-spotted Keelback trapped in Vietnam (photo by Alex Krohn)

Yellow-spotted Keelback Xenocropis flavipunctus Vietnam Alex Krohn 2

Yellow-spotted Keelback rearing head in Vietnam (photo by Alex Krohn)

Yellow-spotted Keelback Xenocropis flavipunctus Vietnam Alex Krohn

Head shot of Yellow-spotted Keelback in Vietnam (photo by Alex Krohn)

juvenile Common Keelback Xenochrophis flavipunctatus neck

Juvenile Yellow-spotted Keelback found under board in Suan Luang

Michael Cota Xenochrophis flavipunctatus juvenile Nakhon Ratchasima

Juvenile Yellow-spotted Keelback in Nakhon Ratchasima (photo by Michael Cota)

Ray Hamilton Xenochrophis flavipunctatus juvenile Sattahip

Juvenile Yellow-spotted Keelback in Chonburi Province (photo by Ray Hamilton)

English name: Yellow-spotted Keelback (aka “Common Keelback”)
Scientific name: Xenochrophis flavipunctatus (formerly known as Xenochrophis piscator)
Thai name: Ngu Lai-so Suan, Ngu Daeng Hae

Description: Up to 120cm long. Body is roughly cylindrical and of average girth. Eyes are large. Has an olive-brown background coloration with various black streaks and blotches and a row of small yellow or white dots down each side. Two black streaks come down and back from the eye. Juveniles have a characteristic yellow mark on their neck that fades with age.

Similar Species: Checkered Keelback has a black checker pattern on an olive-brown background. It is a close relative and was once considered to be the same species.
Red-necked Keelback is more colorful and has a characteristic red neck. Juvenile Red-necked Keelbacks, which may not have developed the red neck yet, have a large black marking on the back of their neck that juvenile Yellow-spotted Keelbacks do not have.
Asian Water Snakes (subfamily Homalopsinae) generally have broader heads, smaller eyes, and much thicker bodies.
Oriental Rat Snake lacks black markings on the front half of its body.

Habitat: In or near marshes, ponds, or rice patties, sometimes in the middle of urban areas. The Yellow-spotted Keelback is a a strong swimmer.

Place in the ecosystem: The Yellow-spotted Keelback eats fish, frogs, and rodents, helping to control mouse and rat populations in the city. The juveniles are eaten by larger snakes and birds.

Danger to humans: Will bite aggressively when provoked and can draw blood, but is not dangerous to humans. Though it has no venom glands, some people report itching and slight swelling after a bite.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats.

Interesting facts: The Yellow-spotted Keelback will often swallow its prey immediately upon catching it, without constricting or using any other means to kill the prey. As a result, prey is sometimes swallowed live, and some sources report frogs still vocalizing from within the snake.

References:
Snakes of Taiwan: Xenochrophis piscator
On the taxonomy of the Xenochrophis piscator complex
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
Snakes of Thailand and their Husbandry
Simon & Schuster’s Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of the World

 

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Sunbeam Snake

Xenopeltis unicolor

Sunbeam Snake Xenopeltis unicolor

Sunbeam Snake found in Krabi Province (photo courtesy of Tom Charlton, http://www.venomlogic.com)

Sunbeam Snake Xenopeltis unicolor found under board

Sunbeam Snake found under board at night in Prawet

Sunbeam Snake Xenopeltis unicolor in hand in Prawet

Sunbeam Snake found at edge of marsh at night in Prawet

Sunbeam Snake Xenopeltis unicolor in Prawet head shot

Head shot of Sunbeam Snake

Sunbeam Snake Xenopeltis unicolor

Sunbeam Snake in Laos (photo by Thomas Calame)

Sunbeam Snake showing iridescence in Singapore

Sunbeam Snake in Singapore (Image by Nick Baker, ecologyasia.com)

Sunbeam Snake Xenopeltis unicolor digging into earth

Sunbeam Snake digging in Khao Phra Thaew (photo by khaophrathaew.org)

Asian Sunbeam Snake Xenopeltis unicolor

Juvenile Sunbeam Snake found in Vietnam (photo by Scott Trageser naturestills.com)

Sunbeam Snake Vietnam Xenopeltis unicolor Alex Krohn 1

Sunbeam Snake trapped in Vietnam (photo by Alex Krohn)

Sunbeam Snake Xenopeltis unicolor dead DOR

Sunbeam Snake killed by a car on road in Chiang Mai Province

English name: Sunbeam Snake (aka: “Iridescent Earth Snake”)
Scientific name: Xenopeltis unicolor
Thai name: Ngu Saeng-a-tit

Description: To 130cm long. The head is shaped like a wedge, helping it to dig into soil. The scales of the Sunbeam Snake are highly iridescent and give off many colors in sunlight, leading to its common name. Otherwise the body is reddish brown to blackish on top and whitish-gray below. Juveniles have a white collar around the neck.

Similar Species: Red-tailed Pipe Snake has a shorter, thicker tail and black/white bands on the underbelly.
Yellow-bellied Water Snake is not nearly as iridescent, has a broad head as opposed to a narrow wedge-shaped head, and is yellow-to-cream on the bottom.
Rainbow Water Snake has light and dark lines running down its body rather than iridescent scales and has a longer, skinnier tail.

Habitat: Open areas such as forest clearings, scrubland, marshes, rice paddies, parks, and gardens. Hides in rodent burrows, decaying vegetation and compost heaps during the day. Only comes out from under cover on overcast or rainy days and at night.

Place in the ecosystem: The Sunbeam Snake helps control rat and mice populations by eating small rodents, as well as frogs, lizards, and other snakes. It is eaten by larger snakes and monitors.

Danger to humans: Rarely bites, has no venom and is not dangerous to humans.

Conservation status and threats: Is currently common due to its wide distribution and tolerance for many habitats, including areas close to human habitation. However, it is captured in large numbers for its skins and the pet trade and thus could face declines in the future.

Interesting facts: When bothered, the Sunbeam Snake will jerk its body around and shake its tail as a warning, but will almost never even open its mouth to bite. It also produces a very foul-smelling musk.

References:
IUCN Redlist: Xenopeltis unicolor
Wikipedia: Xenopeltidae
Wikipedia: Xenopeltis unicolor
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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Javan Wart Snake

Acrochordus javanicus

Javan Wart Snake (Acrochordus javanicus)

Javan Wart Snake (photo by Michael Cota)

Elephant Trunk Snake (Acrochordus javanicus) juvenile

Juvenile Javan Wart Snake in Malaysia (photo by Gernot Vogel)

Javan File Snake (Acrochordus javanicus)

Javan Wart Snake (Hippocampus-Bildarchiv.de)

Javan Wart Snake Acrochordus javanicus juvenile

Juvenile Javan Wart Snake (acrochordus.com)

Male Javan Wart Snake Acrochordus javanicus

Javan Wart Snake in aquarium (acrochordus.com)

Elephant Trunk Snake Acrochordus javanicus

Juvenile Javan Wart Snake (acrochordus.com)

Javan Wart Snake Acrochordus javanicus juvenile feeding

Juvenile Javan Wart Snake feeding on fish (acrochordus.com)

Elephant Trunk Snake Acrochordus javanicus head shot

Head shot of Javan Wart Snake (acrochordus.com)

Elephant Trunk Snake Javan Wart Snake Acrochordus javanicus

Javan Wart Snake (photo by George Lazenby)

Agata Staniewicz 2011 Indonesia Javan Wart Snake

Young Javan Wart Snake in Indonesia (photo by Agata Staniewicz)

English name: Javan Wart Snake (aka: “Elephant Trunk Snake” or “Javan File Snake”)
Scientific name: Acrochordus javanicus
Thai name: Ngu Nguang-chang

Description: To 290cm long. Thick body and loose folds of skin lead to the common name “Elephant Trunk Snake”. Skin is covered with small pyramid-like scales that are rough to the touch, giving the alternative common name “file snake”. Head is flat and wide with the nostrils and eyes positioned on top. Tail is round. Body is olive-brown to grayish-black on top, fading to pale yellow with borken-up dark lines and blotches on the sides.

Similar Species: Little File Snake is smaller and has cream bands rather than dark lines/blotches.
Sea Snakes of the Elapidae family have a paddle-shaped tail.

Habitat: The Javan Wart Snake is occasionally found in the ocean, but prefers the brackish or fresh water of slow-moving rivers and streams in coastal areas. It is able to live in ditches and canals of agricultural land. It becomes almost entirely aquatic as it matures and has difficulty moving on land as an adult. Usually hides in the roots of trees lining the water during the day, coming out into open water at night to hunt.

Place in the ecosystem: The Javan Wart Snake feeds on fish and frogs. Smaller juveniles may be eaten by large fish, monitors and wading birds.

Danger to humans: Has no venom, rarely bites and is not dangerous, though it can deliver a painful bite if it chooses to do so.

Conservation status and threats: The Javan Wart Snake is currently common and populations appear able to withstand a great deal of hunting pressure and habitat degradation. Still, there are concerns as hundreds of thousands are killed each year for their skins, which are turned into leather after the scales are removed. Their flesh is also sold in markets and eaten.

Interesting facts: The Javan Wart Snake surprises fish by ambushing them at the bottom of the water bodies where it lives. When it grabs a fish it grips it with the coils of its body, which are able to hold onto the slippery fish due to the rough, triangular scales.

Female Javan Wart Snakes can be more than 50% longer and much thicker than the males, an unusual extreme in sexual dimorphism among snakes.

References:
IUCN Redlist: Acrochordus javanicus
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
Guide to the Snakes of South Vietnam
Snakes of Thailand and their Husbandry

 

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