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

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Moellendorff's Rat Snake
   
   

Family : COLUBRIDAE 
Species : Orthriophis moellendorffi
Maximum Size : at least 200 cm

Moellendorff's Rat Snake (also known as 'Flower Snake' or 'Red-headed Rat Snake'), is a strikingly patterned species which mainly inhabits caves in areas of lowland, deciduous forest in northern Vietnam and southern China.

It is terrestrial in habits and mainly diurnal in its activity pattern. It apparently feeds on rodents, birds and other small vertebrates.

Its colour and patterning is striking, broadly comprising dark saddles and markings on the flanks, which are greenish-grey towards the front of the body and reddish, edge with black, towards the rear. The tail is red, with irregular, black-edged orange bands.

The head is reddish on top, elongate in shape  and slightly distinct from the neck. The eyes are of medium size.

This beautiful snake reaches at least 2 metres in total length: the example shown here is small, measuring around 60 to 80 cm total length.


Figs 1 to 3 : Example with an estimated total length of 60-80 cm, found on the floor of a limestone cave at Cuc Phuong National Park, northern Vietnam. Photos thanks to Edgar Stich.

Fig 4 : Entrance to cave habitat of Moellendorff's Rat Snake.


References : H12

 

Fig 1
 
ゥ  Edgar Stich
Fig 2
 
ゥ  Edgar Stich
Fig 3
 
ゥ  Edgar Stich

Fig 4
 
ゥ  Edgar Stich