Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Xenopeltis unicolor Reinwardt, 1827

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Chordata
Class:Reptilia
Order:Squamata
Family:Xenopeltidae
Genus:Xenopeltis
Species:X. unicolor
Common Names:Sunbeam Snake, Iridescent Earth Snake
Status:Uncommon

Description

The Sunbeam Snake has a depressed head that is indistinct from the neck. It has a short tapering tail. The dorsal part is iridescent brown while the ventral is white or cream. Juveniles have a white bar across the back of the neck. The snake can grow to a total length of 114 cm.

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

Distribution

Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, southern and eastern Cambodia, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Pulau Bangka, Pulau Belitung, the Riau Archipelago, Pulau Natuna Besar, Pulau Sipura, Pulau Simeuleu, Pulau Siberut, Borneo, Java, south-eastern China, the Nicobar Archipelago (India) and Palawan and the Sulu Archipelago (the Phillippines).

Localities

Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Kent Ridge Park, Kranji Marshes, Mount Faber, Pulau Tekong and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

General Biology

Found in forest, scrubland and rural areas, they are semi-fossorial and inhabit rodent burrows, leaf litter and crevices. These snakes are nocturnal and non-venomous.

Diet

They feed on rodents, birds, lizards, frogs and other snakes.

Life Cycle

Oviparous; each clutch comprise 3–17 eggs.

Other Resources

Uetz, P. (editor). The Reptile Database: Xenopeltis unicolor. http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Xenopeltis&species=unicolor. (Accessed October 2012).

References

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.

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

Spot any errors? Have any questions? Something to contribute? Email us at dbsthh@nus.edu.sg!
Presented by

NUS      RMBR
Sponsored by

Care-for-Nature