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



Singapore Red-tailed Pipe Snake

Species : Cylindrophis mirzae
Maximum Size : 90 cm

This is a lowland species, generally preferring swampy, forested habitats but may also occur in disturbed, agricultural areas.

It leads a burrowing lifestyle : its body shape, being cylindrical in cross-section, is ideally suited. It feeds mainly on other snakes and eels, and is a good swimmer.

The body is dark but iridescent, with indistinct lighter bands. The blunt tail has reddish colouration which it displays when threatened. Typically there is a lighter band on the back of the neck. There is an irregular pattern of pale bars and blotches on the underside.

The head is short and blunt, and of the same width as the body, and the eyes are small.

The Singapore Red-tailed Pipe Snake has a localised distribution and is currently only known from Singapore. It was formerly considered part of the Cylindrophis ruffus species complex, but was described as a separate species in 2015 (Amarasinghe et al, 2015): the validity of this being a separate species, however, is questioned by some researchers (Kieckbush et al, 2016).

Fig 1 : Dorsal side, with typical orange-red banding.

Fig 2 : Ventral side, with broken white bars.

Fig 3 : The head is barely wider than the body and the eyes are small.

Fig 4 : Here the tail is raised as a warning sign.

All photos are of the same specimen from Singapore, thanks to Benjamin Lee.

References : H1, H2

Amarasinghe, A. A. T., Campbell, P. D., Hallermann, J., Sidik, I., Supriatna, J., & Ineich, I. (2015). Two new species of the genus Cylindrophis Wagler, 1828 (Squamata: Cylindrophiidae) from Southeast Asia. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation, 9(1), 34-51.

Kieckbusch, M., Mecke, S., Hartmann, L., Ehrmantraut, L., O担hea, M. & Kaiser, H. (2016). An inconspicuous, conspicuous new species of Asian pipesnake, genus Cylindrophis (Reptilia: Squamata: Cylindrophiidae), from the south coast of Jawa Tengah, Java, Indonesia, and an overview of the tangled taxonomic history of C. ruffus (Laurenti, 1768). Zootaxa, 4093(1), 1-25.


Fig 1
ゥ  Benjamin Lee
Fig 2
ゥ  Benjamin Lee
Fig 3
ゥ  Benjamin Lee
Fig 4
ゥ  Benjamin Lee