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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Malayan Banded Wolf Snake

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3











Species : Lycodon subcinctus
Maximum Size : 102 cm

This wide-ranging species inhabits lowland forest and montane habitats up to at least 1500 metres elevation (Tweedie, 1957). It is most generally encountered by night on the forest floor, but is also considered to be arboreal.

The body is slender, and the somewhat flattened head is of the same width as the body. Juveniles and half-grown specimens are adorned with numerous widely-spaced pale bands, either white or cream, which are wider at the base and narrower dorsally : these are less apparent in the posterior section of the body and the tail. The background colour is black or dark brown : in adult specimens banding may be totally absent.

The banding appears to mimic that of highly venomous kraits, particularly the Malayan Krait Bungarus candidus. Care should be taken not to confuse these two species. 

It reportedly feeds on geckos and skinks.

The species occurs in all countries of Southeast Asia from mainland Myanmar in the northwest to the eastern islands of Indonesia, including Timor-Leste in the extreme east of the region. It also ranges to eastern China.

The images shown here constitute the first record of the species for the island of Flores, Indonesia.

Fig 1 : Anterior portion of sub-adult specimen, showing the broken white band on the nape and typical banded patterning.

Fig 2 : Posterior portion of the same specimen showing absence of banding further down the body.

Fig 3 : The specimen shown in figs 2 and 3 was found at the edge of this lowland stream by night.

All photos from Western Flores, Indonesia.

References : H12, H14