Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia


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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2022



Malayan Mountain Keelback

Species : Hebius inas
Maximum Size : 61 cm

The Malayan Mountain Keelback occurs inhabits hill and lower montane forests of the Malay Peninsula. It is terrestrial and diurnal in habits, typically being encountered on the forest floor amongst leaf litter and tree roots.

The species is also called the 'Gunung Inas Keelback' after the mountain in Perak, Peninsular Malaysia from which it was first described in 1901 (in Malay, Gunung = Mountain).

The ground colour of this snake is dark brown,  adorned with pale brown or buff markings on the upperside and vague, pale bars on the flanks. There is a yellowish or white, somewhat broken  line along each flank. The ventral scales are yellowish white, edged with black at the margins.

The dorsal scales are keeled while those on the flanks may be keeled or smooth.

The head is elongate and distinct from the neck. The top of the head is mottled brown and black, and iridescent under strong light, and the supralabials (the scales above the upper lip) are patterned with bold, white blotches. The eye is of moderate size, with a rounded pupil and brown iris.

The ecology of this species remains unstudied, but it appears to venture further from water than many other species of keelback.

The species occurs in southern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia (including, in addition to Gunung Inas, the popular hill resorts of Cameron Highlands, Fraser's Hill and Genting Highlands).

Figs 1 and 3 : Specimen found by day at Fraser's Hill, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia at an elevation of around 1300 metres.

Fig 2 : Typical lower montane forest at Fraser's Hill, at around 1300 metres elevation.

References : H12, H14


Fig 1
ゥ  Ng Bee Choo
Fig 2
Fig 3
ゥ  Ng Bee Choo