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

 
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

   
   
 
Malayan Brown Snake
   
   

Fig 1
  

Fig 2
 

Fig 3
 

Fig 4


Fig 5


Fig 6
 

 



 

Family : COLUBRIDAE
Species : Xenelaphis hexagonotus
Maximum Size : 2 metres

Reaching around 2 metres in length, the Malayan Brown Snake is a harmless, terrestrial or semi-aquatic species inhabiting forests, plantations and swamps (freshwater and mangrove). It appears to be mainly diurnal in habits.

It feeds on other vertebrates, particularly rodents, but in freshwater swamp habitats is known to be highly aquatic in behaviour, feeding chiefly on small fishes and frogs. The typical hunting method is to adopt an erect posture, waiting for prey to come into range, and then to strike quickly.

Its dorsal scales are brown, becoming more olive-green posteriorly, especially in juveniles. A regular series of dark brown bands extends slightly onto the belly, which is white or pale yellow.

According to Reptile Database, the range of this species includes Myanmar (?), Thailand, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia,  Singapore, the Riau Archipelago (and nearby islands), Sumatra, Borneo and Java.


Figs 1 to 3 : Example from a forest stream in Singapore, with raised head and neck searching for frogs or fishes. In the foreground of Figure 1 is a Forest Betta (Betta pugnax).

Fig 4 : Acidic, swamp forest stream - typical microhabitat of the Malayan Brown Snake.

Fig 5 : The species typically freezes in an erect posture when disturbed.

Fig 6 : Close-up of the posterior part of the body, which is olive-green in colour.


References : H2, H3