Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia
  

 

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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Malayan Brown Snake
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4


 

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 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.

The species ranges from Southern Burma and Southern Thailand, and parts of Indochina, through Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to the Riau Archipelago, Sumatra, Borneo and Java.


Fig 1 : Patrolling a swamp forest stream during a hot afternoon in search of frogs or fishes. Seen at Seletar,   Singapore.

Fig 2 : Acidic, swamp forest stream - typical microhabitat of the Malayan Brown Snake.

Fig 3 : The species typically freezes in an erect posture when disturbed.

Fig 4 : Close-up of the posterior part of the body, which is olive-green in colour.


References : H2, H3