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Sunbeam Snake
   
   

Fig 1
 

Fig 2
 

Fig 3
 

Fig 4
 

Fig 5
 
 


 

Family : XENOPELTIDAE
Species : Xenopeltis unicolor
Maximum Size : 1.25 metre

This harmless, non-venomous species stays largely hidden in burrows, but comes to the surface to feed on lizards, frogs, mice and other vertebrates. It is mainly nocturnal, and prefers secondary forest, agricultural areas, parks and gardens.

Under dull light its colour appears dark brown to black, but under strong sunlight it displays an attractive iridescence of red, blue, green and yellow. The ventral surface is white. The head is depressed (flattened) which allows for easy burrowing. The juvenile has a pale collar around the neck.

The species ranges throughout southern China and Southeast Asia.


Fig 1 : Sunbeam Snake in waterlogged, muddy habitat in Singapore.

Fig 2 : Swimming across a shallow, rural pond, Singapore.

Fig 3 : Juvenile found behind Kata-Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand.

Fig 4 : Scales under dull light.

Fig 5 : Under strong light the scales are iridescent.


References : H1, H2