Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Calamaria lumbricoidea Boie, 1827

Species:C. lumbricoidea
Common Names:Variable Reed Snake


The Variable Reed Snake grows to about 64 cm. Its body is moderately robust and cylindrical, with a head that is indistinct from its neck, and a thick tail that ends sharply and abruptly at the tip. It is usually dark brown or black on the dorsal, with or without narrow, light stripes. One or two rows of scales on each side of the snake are yellow. The ventral scales of this snake are yellow, with or without black bands. Juveniles have a pink or red head that will turn black as they grow.

Read more about the Squamata order.
Read more about the Colubridae family.


This snake is found in Southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Pulau Nias, the Mentawai Archipelago, Borneo, Java, and the Phillippines.


It is confined to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

General Biology

This snake is terrestrial and semi-fossorial, often found under leaf litter, stones and logs. Although it mainly inhabits the forests, it is tolerant of a variety of human-related habitats including gardens, plantations, and thinly wooded areas at the edge of cities. The Variable Reed Snake is nocturnal and non-venomous.


It preys on lizards, frogs, earthworms, and other invertebrates which inhabit the soil.

Life Cycle

It is oviparous although its reproductive habit is unknown.

Other Resources

Grismer, L., Chan-Ard, T. & Inger, R.F. 2012. Calamaria lumbricoidea. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/176627/0. (Accessed November 2012).

Uetz, P. (editor). The Reptile Database: Calamaria lumbricoidea. http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=calamaria&species=lumbricoidea. (Accessed November 2012).


Baker, N. & K.K.P. Lim, 2008. Wild Animals of Singapore. A Photographic Guide to Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes. Draco Publishing and Distribution Pte Ltd and Nature Society (Singapore). 180 pp.

Cox, M. J., P.P. Van Dijk, J. Nabhitabhata & K. Thirakhupt, 2010. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. New Holland (Publishers) Ltd. 144 pp.

Das, I., 2010. A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd. 376 pp.

Lim, K.K.P. & F.L.K. Lim, 2002. A Guide to the Amphibians & Reptiles of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 160 pp.

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