Reptiles and Amphibians of Thailand

Thailand's Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, and Frogs

Collared Reed Snake

Calamaria pavimentata

This species is found in Thailand, but not within Bangkok itself
Brown Collared Reed Snake Calamaria pavimentata งูพงอ้อท้องเหลือง Thailand khao yai
Juvenile Collared Reed Snake at Khao Yai NP (Jon Hakim / CC BY-NC-SA)

English name: Collared Reed Snake (aka: “Brown Reed Snake”)
Scientific name: Calamaria pavimentata
Thai name: งูพงอ้อท้องเหลือง (Ngu Pong-oa Tong Loeng)

Description: To 49 cm. A tiny slender snake with a small head. Brownish, sometimes with five dark lines. There is often (but not always) a thick black collar with a light pink/white/yellow/orange neckband behind it and two light spots near the tail. Tail is pointed. Belly is yellow, possibly with dirty black speckling.

Relevant scale counts: 13 midbody scale rows of smooth scales. 4 supralabials. Mental does not contact front chin shield pair. 125-168 ventrals in males and 133-206 in females, and 13-33 subcaudals in males and 8-20 in females.

Similar Species: Dwarf Reed Snake has a more elongate head, a dark brown belly, 15 midbody scale rows and 5-6 supralabials.
Variable Reed Snake is a darker brown/black and often has distinct bars on the belly. Juveniles have a pink head and bands across the entire body.
Malayan Mountain Reed Snake is bulkier with small tan circles and stripes on the sides, 15 midbody scale rows and 8 supralabials.

Range:  Northern India across southeast Asia south to peninsular Malaysia and east to south China, Taiwan, and southern Japan.

Habitat: Forests, especially in hilly areas.

Place in the ecosystem: Feeds on slugs, earthworms and other soft-bodied invertebrates. Would be eaten by larger snakes.

Danger to humans: Is not at all dangerous to humans.

Conservation status and threats: This snake is extremely widespread and likely to be common even though it is rarely seen.

Interesting facts: It can be quite difficult to determine the true prevalence of “fossorial” snakes, those snakes that live under the ground. As their native habitat is rather difficult for people to inspect, it is possible to have literally thousands of small snakes living in an area and yet never see them. However, persons who spend significant time digging in the soil or who search for snakes under rocks and logs may find a species to be common that others had rarely seen.

References:
Ecology Asia: Collared Reed Snake
Snakes of Taiwan: Collared Reed Snake
Calamaria, a genus of small fossorial reed snakes
Identification and a new record from Penang Island of the rare redbellied reed snake
A New Species of the Genus Calamaria from the Highlands of the Langbian Plateau, Southern Vietnam
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of Southeast Asia

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