Reptiles and Amphibians of Thailand

Thailand's Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, and Frogs

Malayan Mountain Reed Snake

Macrocalamus lateralis

This species is found in Thailand, but not within Bangkok
Malayan Mountain Reed Snake Side-blotched Striped Macrocalamus lateralis งูพงอ้อมลายู thailand
Malayan Mountain Reed Snake from Khao Nan National Park (© Michael Cota)

English name: Malayan Mountain Reed Snake (aka: “Side-blotched Reed Snake”, “Striped Reed Snake”)
Scientific name: Macrocalamus lateralis
Thai name: งูพงอ้อมลายู (Ngu Pong Ao Malayu)

Description: To 30 cm. A very short robust snake. Brown to yellowish-brown with narrow yellow or tan dorsolateral stripe on each side bordered by dark brown stripes. Well above the stripes on each side is a row of tan circular markings bordered in black. Belly red, pink, or orange with dark brown on the outside edges.

Relevant scale counts: 15 midbody scale rows of smooth scales. 8 supralabials. 114-122 ventrals and 14-20 subcaudals.

Similar Species: Short-tailed Reed Snake lacks the circular tan markings and stripes on the sides and has 13 midbody scale rows and 5 supralabials.

Range:  Southern Thailand and peninsular Malaysia.

Habitat: Hill forest at about 400m elevation.

Place in the ecosystem: Likely feeds on 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: Is difficult to evaluate as it is known from very few specimens, though its natural habitat is protected.

Interesting facts: Though originally defined as existing throughout much of peninsular Malaysia, it was determined that most specimens of Malayan Mountain Reed Snake were actually different species, and the Malayan Mountain Reed Snake was restricted to an original specimen found in Malaysia and a second specimen found in Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary. Since then additional specimens have been found in southern Thailand. Similar snakes found throughout the rest of peninsular Malaysia are now referred to as Chanard Mountain Reed Snake or the Mount Tahan Mountain Reed Snake.

References:
A reevaluation of the taxonomy of Macrocalamus lateralis with the descriptions of two new species
IUCN Red List: Macrocalamus lateralis
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of Southeast Asia

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