Dogfaced watersnake

Cerberus rynchops

SUBFAMILY

Homalopsinae

TAXONOMY

Hydrus rynchops Schneider, 1799, Ganjam, India. Two subspecies are recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES English: Bockadam.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This snake is about 24 in (60 cm) in length. It is a slender, grayish to reddish snake with a narrowly triangular head and dorsal eyes and nostrils.

DISTRIBUTION

This is a coastal species found from western India through Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Indonesia, to northern Australia.

HABITAT

This species occupies coastal mangrove forests and estuaries, where it is often found on mud flats.

BEHAVIOR

The dog-faced watersnake forages in the water and on mud flats, where it moves by sidewinding. It is reported to release a foul-smelling musk for defense.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

This species feeds primarily upon fishes.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

This snake is viviparous, giving birth to about eight young. CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN, although coastal environments in general are subject to increasing pressure from expanding human populations.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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