Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Acrochordus granulatus (Schneider, 1799)

Species:A. granulatus
Common Names:Banded File Snake


The Banded File Snake is named after its extremely rough and baggy skin. Usually olive, blue or blackish-grey with cream bands along the body. The bands are broad on the back, tapers to the sides, and may extend across the underside. The bands are more distinct in juveniles and sometime disappear in adults. They have a stout body, with the small head being indistinct from the neck. It also has small eyes, and a slender, tapering tail.

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


Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Java, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, Phillippines, New Guinea, Australia and the eastern Indonesian islands of Ambon, Flores, Jobi, Schouten, Sulawesi, Ternate, Timor and Pulau Weh.


Chek Jawa, Changi Beach, Simpang, Sungei Mandai, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Lim Chu Kang, Tuas, Pulau Sudong, Pasir Ris Park, Pulau Semakau, Pulau Sekudu, Siglap, Telok Kurau, Tanjong Katong, Lower Seletar Reservoir.

Locality Map

General Biology

An aquatic snake that can be found in waters as deep as 20 m, they are able to remain submerged for at least 139 minutes each time. They are nocturnal and inhabit estuaries, mangroves and the coasts. Predominantly a coastal snake, but it has also been recorded in freshwater habitats like rivers, lakes and reservoirs. This species is native and is fairly common. Although they resemble many of the venomous sea snakes, this snake is non-venomous, and can be distinguished by its tapering tail instead of a paddle-like one. As they are non-venomous, they make use of their rough skin to help grip their prey, preventing the prey from escaping as they swallow them.


Feeds on burrowing gobies, eels, crabs and other snakes.

Life Cycle

Ovoviviparous with each clutch consisting of 6–12 neonates, measuring 220–230 mm, born after six months gestation.

Other Resources

Uetz, P. (editor). The Reptile Database: Bronchocela cristatella. http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Acrochordus&species=granulatus. (Accessed September 2012).


Chua, M.A.H. & K.K.P. Lim, 2011. File snakes. Pp. 313. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 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.

Ng, H. T., 2011. A record of the Banded File Snake, Acrochordus granulatus (Reptilia: Squamata: Acrochordidae) in a freshwater habitat in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 4: 91-93.

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