Reptiles and Amphibians of Thailand

Thailand's Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, and Frogs

Laotian Bearded Snake

Parafimbrios lao

This species is found in Thailand, but not within Bangkok itself
Laotian Bearded Snake Nan Province parafimbrios lao tontan
Laotian Bearded Snake in Nan Province (herpingthailand.com)

English name: Laotian Bearded Snake 
Scientific name: Parafimbrios lao
Thai name: no known Thai name

Description: To 41 cm. Unusual in that its body is covered in small bumpy scales separated from each other by skin. Neck is barely distinct from the head. Color is gray or purplish-grey with some iridescence. Some specimens show a light gray or white collar on the neck. Belly is whitish. 

Similar Species: Dragon Snake has three distinct ridges along the top of its body and a large head clearly distinct from the neck.

Range: Is known from Laos, a bordering province in Vietnam, and Nan Province in Thailand.

Habitat: Lives in primary evergreen forest in low mountains, sometimes near karst formation.

Place in the ecosystem: Its diet is unknown.

Danger to humans: Not at all dangerous.

Conservation status and threats: Considering the few specimens that have been found, it is possible that this species is extremely rare. However, so little is known that it is impossible to say what the threats could be. Much care should be taken to protect the habitat in those few locations were it has been found.

Interesting facts: The Laotian Bearded Snake was first discovered by Alexandre Teynié during an expedition in Laos. It turned out to be not just a new species, but an entirely new genus unlike anything that had been seen before.

Just one year after that find, Sjon Hauser found two road-killed specimens in Doi Phu Kha National Park and the first live example in Thailand (shown above) a few months later. Other herpers were also able to find more of the species in Vietnam and Thailand. It remains to be seen whether some of these represent the same species or another new species.

References:
Thai National Parks: Laotian Bearded Snake
Reptile Database: Parafimbrios lao
A new genus and species of xenodermatid snake from northern Lao
First record of Parafimbrios lao for Thailand
Sjon Hauser, personal communication

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