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



Red-necked Keelback

Species : Rhabdophis subminiatus
Maximum Size : 130 cm

This is a wide-ranging species of lowland and lower montane forests up to elevations of around 1800 metres. Like other keelbacks it is more commonly encountered on the ground near small waterbodies, such as ponds and streams. It may also ascend into low vegetation to rest.

Its diet comprises aquatic vertebrates such as frogs, tadpoles and fishes.

This is a long, slender snake with head slightly larger than the body, and large eyes.

The specimen illustrated here is a juvenile with typical patterning and colouration comprising a grey head, dark grey nape, and yellowish-orange dorsum which gradates into an olive-brown body adorned with regular darker markings. Below the eye is a dark bar. 

Adults have less complex patterning : the body is olive-brown - either plain or with yellow and black markings : this gradates into red and yellow at the nape and head.

The Red-necked Keelback is widely distributed in Southeast Asia, occurring in Myanmar, Thailand, Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos) and Peninsular Malaysia, and the islands of Sumatra, Borneo and Java. The species is considered indeterminate in Singapore.

Outside the region its range extends to northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent and southern parts of China.

Figs 1 and 2 : Images of a Red-necked Keelback (juvenile) photographed at Bang Sare, Sattahip, Thailand.  Photos thanks to Ray Hamilton.

Fig 3 : Example from Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand consuming a frog.  Photo thanks to Charles Currin.

References : H12



Fig 1
ゥ  Ray Hamilton
Fig 2
ゥ  Ray Hamilton
Fig 3
ゥ  Charles Currin