Reptiles and Amphibians of Bangkok

Central Thailand's Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, and Frogs

Buff-striped Keelback


Amphiesma stolata

Buff-striped Keelback Amphiesma stolata
Buff-striped Keelback from Taiwan (photo by Gerrut Norval)

White-striped Keelback Amphiesma stolata
Another view of Buff-striped Keelback (photo by Gerrut Norval)

Buff-striped Keelback Amphiesma stolata blue
Buff-striped Keelback in Taiwan showing blue between scales (photo by A. Jie)

White-striped Keelback Amphiesma stolata
Buff-striped Keelback (photo by Thomas Calame)

Buff-striped Keelback Amphiesma stolata
Buff-striped Keelback in India (photo by Surajit Koley)

White-striped Keelback Amphiesma stolata
Dorsal view of Buff-striped Keelback from India (photo by Akash Meshram)

Buff-striped Keelback Amphiesma stolata India juvenile
Juvenile Buff-striped Keelback found in grass in urban India

Buff-striped Keelback Amphiesma stolata
Buff-striped Keelback flipped under rock (along with a Bronzeback) in India

Buff-striped Keelback Amphiesma stolata kolkata india
Pair of Buff-striped Keelbacks found under rock in India

English name: Buff-striped Keelback (aka: “White-striped Keelback”)
Scientific name: Amphiesma stolata
Thai name: Ngu Lai-sab Dok-ya

Description: To 90cm long. Body is slender. Color is olive-gray to brown with characteristic white, buff, or cream stripes along each side. Regular narrow dark bands also appear on most of the body, fading out near the head and tail. Head is sometimes greenish-brown to beige. Eyes are large. Underside is white to cream.

Similar Species: Yellow-spotted Keelback lacks the characteristic buff stripes.
Red-necked Keelback lacks the buff stripe on the side.
Indo-Chinese Sand Snake has brown stripes on either side of the light stripes and lacks the dark bands.

Habitat: In marshes, wetlands, irrigated agriculture, and other relatively open areas near water bodies. During rainy season they may be found in fields.

Place in the ecosystem: The Buff-striped Keelback feeds on frogs and toads. The juveniles are eaten by larger snakes, monitors, large fish, wading birds and birds of prey.

Danger to humans: This species is nonaggressive and will typically flee when faced with danger. Its bite poses no danger to humans at all.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats overall. There are historic records for Bangkok, but I know of no recent records and it is possible that its habitat in Bangkok no longer exists due to development.

Interesting facts: Like several other species of snake, the Buff-striped Keelback practices a small degree of parental care, with female snakes remaining with their eggs until they hatch.

Snakes of Taiwan: Amphiesma stolatum
Reptiles of Hong Kong: Buff-striped Keelback
Wikipedia: Amphiesma stolatum
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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