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  Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
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Crab-eating Water Snake
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4


Fig 5


 

Family : HOMALOPSIDAE
Species : Fordonia leucobalia
Maximum Size : 95 cm

The Crab-eating Water Snake, or Whitebelly Mangrove Snake as it is called in Australia, confines itself mainly to tidal habitats, where it preys on small fish and crabs. In particular it is locally common in mangroves.

There are several colour variations ranging from brown or grey with black spots, to purplish-black. The belly is pale in colour. The jaw is recessed under the head, and the eyes positioned towards the top of the head.  

It is wide-ranging from India, Bangladesh, Burma and Thailand down through the Malay Peninsula through all the larger islands of Indonesia. In the extreme east of its range it is found in New Guinea and northern Australia. 


Figs 1 and 2 : 35 cm specimen from mangrove habitat at Pasir Ris, Singapore.

Fig 3 : Juvenile, measuring around 20 cm, from mangrove habitat at Pasir Ris, Singapore.

Fig 4 : This 60 cm specimen from Pulau Sugi, Riau Archipelago, Indonesia was found stranded on a sandy beach.

Fig 5 :
Close-up of the head showing the small eyes, and typical scalation.




References : H1, H3