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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Spotted Keelback
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2
  

Family : NATRICIDAE
Species : Xenochrophis maculatus
Maximum Size : 100 cm

This slender snake inhabits lowland forests. Like other southeast asian keelbacks it shows preference for shallow streams and swampy areas, where it hunts for frogs, its main source of food. It is diurnal in habits.

Its body is attractively patterned with dark forward-pointed barring on the flanks, black mottling on the back of the neck, and reddish-orange and buff colouration on the body, which becomes more intense away from the neck area. The head is dark grey to blackish, and the lips and throat pale yellow or white. The underside is pale yellow or white. The eye is large, and the dorsal scales strongly keeled.

The Spotted Keelback is not known to be venomous, however all keelbacks should be treated with caution since the degree of toxicity of the venom of many species is unknown. In general keelbacks are not aggressive, however.

The Spotted Keelback occurs in Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra and Borneo.


Fig 1 : Specimen amongst leaf litter a few metres from a clear forest stream in Singapore's central forests.

Fig 2 : Swampy lowland forest stream - microhabitat of the Spotted Keelback in Fig 1.

Fig 3 : This example, from Singapore's central nature reserves, has left the forest to explore a nearby property. Note the bulge in its belly which indicates a recent meal. Photo thanks to Ho Hua Chew.

 

Fig 3
  
ゥ  Ho Hua Chew