Vertebral Slug Snake
Also known as:
Mountain Slug-eating Snake, Southern Mountain Slug Snake, Asian Slug Snake, Mountain Snail Snake
Bukit Fraser, Pahang, Malaysia—January 20, 2017
My guide Kurt "Orion" G
and I spotted this snake slowly inching its way across the road just a few minutes after Kurt had told me that he very rarely sees snakes on the road. This is theoretically an arboreal species.
When this slow-moving (what do you expect from a slug eater?) serpent managed to reach the far side of the pavement, we blocked its further progress so it wouldn't crawl off into the vegetation before we could get decent photos. It then decided to put on a show of ferocity, coiling up as if it were venomous and lunging its head very slowly in the general direction of our hands, only maybe a couple of inches to the side. It was not very frightening.
My Travelogues and Trip Lists page includes a complete list of the herps I saw in the wild on this trip to Malaysia, as well as a travelogue of the trip.
Bukit Fraser, Pahang, Malaysia—January 21, 2017
The following night I was out by myself and found another of these docile snakes. This one was in fact up in the vegetation as it should be, slowly prowling from branch to branch, presumably searching for tasty slugs. Recently researchers have concluded that two species of Asthenodipsas are present in this area. One species (A. vertebralis) is banded and arboreal, the other non-banded and terrestrial. Both of the ones I saw were banded (faintly, but that's apparently all that is required for the ID). Your guess is as good as mine whether it's fair to call the road-crossing snake "arboreal".
- Cox, M. J., van Dijk, P. P., Nabhitabhata, J., Thirakhupt, K. 1998. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
- Das, I. 2010. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-east Asia
- Das, I. 2012. A Naturalist's Guide to the Snakes of South-east Asia
- Manthey, U., Grossmann, W. 1997. Amphibien & Reptilien Südostasiens