Reptiles and Amphibians of Thailand

Thailand's Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, and Frogs

Hampton’s Slug Snake

Pareas hamptoni

This species is found in Thailand, but not within Bangkok itself
Pareas hamptoni, Hampton's slug-eating snake - Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park Thailand งูกินทากลายขวั้น (Ngu Gin Thaag Lai Quann)
Hampton’s Slug Snake in Phu Hin Rong Kla NP (Thai National Parks / CC BY-SA)

English name: Hampton’s Slug Snake (aka “Hampton’s Slug-eating Snake”)
Scientific name: Pareas hamptoni
Thai name: งูกินทากลายขวั้น (Ngu Gin Thaag Lai Quann)

Description: To 75 cm. Its slender, vertically compressed body is orangeish-brown with dark bars. The head is small and distinct from the neck with a blunt nose. A black eyestripe goes back of the eye.

Relevant scale counts: Prefrontal scale touches the eye. Dorsal scales are keeled.

Similar Species: Keeled Slug Snake has small scales between the prefrontal scale and the eye and is often a duller brown color.
Juvenile Black-headed Cat Snakes have a broader head, a longer snout, and smooth scales.

Range: Northern and western Thailand as well as nearby regions of Myanmar, China, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Habitat: In forests in the vicinity of streams, in Thailand found at higher elevations above 1100m. In the more northern parts of its range in China it may be found as low as 600m.

Place in the ecosystem: Like most other slug snakes it feeds primarily on snails, as well as slugs at times. It may be eaten by larger snakes, nocturnal birds and carnivorous mammals such as civets.

Danger to humans: Hampton’s Slug Snake is no danger to humans.

Conservation status and threats: This species is rarely encountered, though it is not considered to be in danger as it has a wide range and there is still a decent amount of habitat remaining in the high-elevation forests it frequents.

Interesting facts: Slug snakes have a specialized hook-like jaw with more teeth on the right-hand side than on the left. This rare “non-symmetric” feature came about because the snails they prey on tend to have right-handed twisting shells, therefore making it easier for the snake to get the right side of its mouth into the shell than the left side. In fact, studies have shown that the snakes are far more successful at extracting snails out of those right-handed shells than they are when faced with a snail in a left-handed twisting shell.

References:
IUCN: Hampton’s Slug Snake
On the distribution of Pareas hamptoni in Thailand
Sjon Hauser pers. comm.
Asymmetrical Snakes
Serpents of Thailand

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