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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Oriental Whip Snake

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4

Fig 5

Fig 6

Fig 7

Species : Ahaetulla prasina
Maximum Size : 2 metres

The Oriental Whip Snake prefers forest edge habitats or their equivalent including parklands, wooded residential areas and rural agricultural areas. It is most commonly encountered whilst sunning itself on secondary growth along the forest edge.

Its body form is extremely slender, though fully-grown adults appear more robust. Adult colouration varies from light brown to dull yellow-green and often a startling fluorescent green. 

The species feeds mainly on vertebrates, including small nesting birds, lizards and frogs.

The young are born alive, and are brown with yellow and black flecks.

It can be distinguished from the similar, and closely related, forest-dwelling Big-eyed Green Whip Snake on the basis of its smaller eye and, generally, the presence of a thin yellow line along the lower flank, just above the ventral scales.

The species ranges from India to China and throughout Southeast Asia as far east as Sulawesi and the Philippines.

Fig 1 : The species is often encountered draped over low vegetation at the forest edge. This specimen is from Seletar, Singapore.

Fig 2 : Juvenile specimen from Singapore's central forests, found resting at eye-level on a sapling at the forest edge.

Fig 3 : A vibrant green specimen from Macritchie, Singapore.

Fig 4 : Close-up showing two identifying features - a yellow stripe on the flanks, and pale green ventral scales.

Fig 5 : Head shot of a fully-grown 2-metre specimen from Singapore's central forests.

Fig 6 : Dull coloured specimen from Tioman Island, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 7 : This specimen, from Cat Ba Island, Vietnam, exhibits black and white lateral stripes when the forward part of its body is inflated.

Fig 8 : Grey example (estimated total length of around 70 cm) from forest edge habitat, Phnom Kulen National Park, Cambodia. Photo thanks to Derek Clark.

References : H1, H2


Fig 8

ゥ  Derek Clark