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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Blue-necked Keelback
   
   

Fig 1
 


Fig 2
 


Fig 3
 


Fig 4
 

 

 

 

Family : NATRICIDAE
Species : Macropisthodon rhodomelas
Maximum Size : 75 cm

This attractively patterned snake occurs in lowland primary and mature secondary rainforest, with a preference for areas near forest streams and swamps. Reportedly it also inhabits waterlogged, grassy areas.

It is easily identified by the dark chevron on the nape of the neck, and by the light bluish-grey neck. The body is orange-brown to pinkish-brown with faint, oblique barring.

The head is slightly larger than the neck, and the eyes of moderate size. Body scales are strongly keeled, and the vertebral scale row is enlarged and darker in colour.

The species is terrestrial and semi-aquatic in habits, though there is a record of a juvenile found coiled on a leaf about a metre from the ground. Their prey comprises mainly frogs.

The species has been be proven to be venomous and should be treated with caution. Individuals are generally not aggressive unless provoked : reportedly this snake will rear up and flatten its neck in cobra-like fashion when threatened, however the individual in these images was quite docile.

The Blue-necked Keelback ranges form southern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia to Singapore and the islands of Sumatra, Java and Borneo.


Figs 1, 2 and 4 : A full-grown specimen found active by day amongst leaf-litter adjacent to a rocky forest stream at Gunung Pulai, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 3 : Rocky, forest stream habitat at Gunung Pulai, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.


References : H1, H10