Sunday, July 02, 2006

Malayan Brown Snake Xenelaphis hexagonotus

An unexpected sighting of this long snake while on a fieldtrip to CCNR one day...well ok spotted on 22nd June 06 10.15 plus minus 15min in the morning if you have to know. Noone will blame you if you can't really see the brown snake in the midst of the brown background, it's the best shot ive got! In any case, this guy was busy swimming up & down the forest stream, foraging or perhaps it got agitated by some humanoid screams. I hope it didn't become deaf! After some verification with Mr Snake Hunter* himself, this creature is most probably a Malayan Brown Snake, Xenelaphis hexagonotus. For those fact hungry people, do read on...

Upclose: Beautifully captured by Norman Lim and K W Chan
(see Wildlife Singapore)

Reaching around 2 metres in length, the Malayan Brown Snake is a harmless, largely terrestrial species inhabiting forests, plantations and swamps (freshwater and mangrove).
It feeds on other vertebrates, particularly rodents, but in freshwater swamp habitats it is known to be highly aquatic in behaviour, feeding chiefly on small fishes and frogs. The typical hunting method is to adopt an erect posture, waiting for prey to come into range, and then to strike quickly.

Dorsal scales are brown, becoming more olive-green posteriorly, especially in juveniles. A regular series of dark brown bands extends slightly onto the belly, which is white or pale yellow.
The species ranges from Southern Burma and Southern Thailand, and parts of Indochina, through Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to the Riau Archipelago, Sumatra, Borneo and Java.

Info adapted from Nick Baker's EcologyAsia, click on this to check out his snapshots.

Another lucky candidate mphil spotted a Malayan Brown on P. Ubin, his posting on ClubSnap). According to him & Nparks,
this species has yet to make it to the NParks list of snakes found on P.Ubin. Well now we know these guys are around in our backyard, aint that comforting =o>

*Chim C K