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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Red-tailed Racer
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2
 

Fig 3


Fig 4


Fig 5


 

 

Family : COLUBRIDAE
Species : Gonyosoma oxycephalum
Maximum Size : 2.4 metres

The Red-tailed Racer inhabits primary and mature secondary forest. It is mainly arboreal and is a renowned raider of birds nests: as a consequence it is often mobbed by birds when searching amongst trees for active nests. It also feeds on bats, rodents and lizards.

The body is thick-set, and the head wider than the body. The snout is long. Its scales are generally smooth, but sometimes may be vaguely keeled. The tongue is blue.

Dorsally it is a striking green colour, which is paler ventrally. The top of the head is darker green, and there is a vague dark stripe running through the eye. The tail is orange-red. Other less common colour forms occur, including variants which are blue-green, grey, orange or yellow-coloured throughout.

The Red-tailed Racer is wide ranging, and occurs from Burma and adjacent island groups through Thailand and Indochina to Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Sumatra, Borneo, Java and Lombok.


Fig 1 : Despite is thickset body, the Red-tailed Racer is an agile climber.

Fig 2 : The species will sometimes come to the ground if necessary.

Figs 3 and 4 : Crossing a rural road to move from one forest fragment to another.

Fig 5 : Close-up of the reddish-brown tail.

All photos from a specimen estimated to be 1.75 metres total length, found in Singapore's central forests.


References : H1, H2, H3