Reptiles and Amphibians of Thailand

Thailand's Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, and Frogs

Speckle-headed Whip Snake

Ahaetulla fasciolata

This snake is found in Thailand but not in Bangkok
Speckle-headed Whip Snake Spotted Whipsnake Banded Vine Snake Ahaetulla fasciolata indonesia
Speckle-headed Whip Snake in Indonesia (Robin James / CC BY NC)

English name: Speckle-headed Whip Snake (aka: “Spotted Whipsnake”, “Banded Vine Snake”)
Scientific name: Ahaetulla fasciolata
Thai name: งูหัวจิ้งจกลายกระ (Ngu Hua Jing-jok Lay Kra)

Description: To 169cm long. Long, extremely slender body ending in a very long tail. Elongate head is shaped like an arrowhead, narrowing into a blunt ending at the nose. Eyes are large and have horizontal pupils. Body is light brown to gray with indistinct darker banding. Head has distinct dark speckling. Belly grey.

Relevant scale counts: 15 midbody scale rows of smooth scales. 9 supralabials. 211-240 ventrals, anal single, subcaudals 178-197.

Similar Species: Keel-bellied Whip Snake has a less pointed snout, a round eye, and wavy lines on top of the head rather than speckles.
Oriental Whip Snake lacks the speckles on the head.
Long-nosed Whip Snake lacks the speckles on the head and has a final protruding scale at the end of its snout forming its “long-nose”.
Big-eye Green Whip Snake is nearly always green and lacks the speckles on the head.

Range: From southern Thailand through Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Habitat: Forests including semi-urban areas so long as thick undergrowth is present. To 900m elevation.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Feeds on frogs, lizards, small snakes and birds. Eaten by birds of prey and larger snakes.

Danger to humans: Though it has a degree of weak venom, it only takes effect if the snake is able to chew for an extended period of time and is not potent enough to cause symptoms in humans past itchiness and mild swelling.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation issues.

Interesting facts: The sleek slender bodies of Asian Vine Snakes give the appearance of speed, but in fact they are extremely slow-moving snakes, using their shape and coloration to blend into their environment like a vine. While hunting they will rhythmically sway along with the branches, approaching their prey in short erratic bursts in order to get close enough to make a quick and accurate final strike.

References:
Reptile Database: Ahaetulla fasciolata
Thai National Parks: Speckle-headed Whip Snake
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia

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