The first time I met this beautiful snake was back in 2001, while helping Harold Voris and Daryl Karns in their survey of homalopsine snakes in Pasir Ris Park Mangrove Swamp. I chanced upon this species again at the same place on 4 September 2005, 12.25 am. It has a very slender elongate body and can reach lengths of 120 cm (Rooij, 1917). This species has a wide distribution and is found in Burma, Thailand, Peninsula Malayasia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo, and Timor (Rooij, 1917; Frith & Boswell, 1978). The diet records of this species was first published only in 2002, about 145 years after its description! Voris and Murphy (2002) discovered that Cantoria violacea feeds on the giant mangrove snapping shrimp Alpheus microrhychus. Incredibly, there is almost nothing else we know about this snake!
From left to right: Dorsal side of head; Left side of head; Dorsal side of body.
* All photographs from Mr Lim Swee Cheng
De Rooij, N., 1917. The reptiles of the Indo-Australian archipelago (II Ophidia). EJ Brill Ltd. Leiden, p. 190-191.
Frith, C. B. & Boswell, J., 1978. Cantor's Water Snake, Cantoria violaecea Girard; a Vertebrate New to the Fauna of Thailand. Natural History Bulletin of Siam Society (Bangkok) 27: 187-189.
Voris, H.K. and J. C. Murphy. 2002. The prey and predators of homalopsine snakes. Journal of Natural History, 36(13):1621-1632.