Tentacled snake

Erpeton tentaculatus

SUBFAMILY

Homalopsinae

TAXONOMY

Erpeton tentaculatus Lacepede, 1800, locality unknown.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

One of the most distinctive snakes, this species is 20 in (50 cm) in length and is readily identifiable by the paired, scaly appendages that project from the front of the snout. The head and body are extremely flat, the nostrils are valvular and dorsal in position, and the color may be light brown with darker stripes or very dark with lighter brown mottling.

DISTRIBUTION

Central and southern Thailand, and southern Cambodia and Vietnam.

HABITAT

Tentacled snakes are found in ponds and slow-moving streams. BEHAVIOR

This snake is entirely aquatic, lying quietly among submerged vegetation waiting for prey. The flattened body is very stiff, capable of bending laterally but exhibiting little vertical flexibility.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

These snakes are ambush predators of fishes.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

This species is viviparous.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Tentacled snakes appear from time to time in the pet trade. In some regions they are erroneously regarded as dangerously venomous. ♦

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