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Malayan Racer
   
   

Fig 1
 


Fig 2
 


Fig 3
 





 

Family : COLUBRIDAE
Species : Coelognathus flavolineatus
Maximum Size : 1.8 metres

The Malayan Racer is a widespread species of lowland forests, but has adapted well to disturbed habitats such as parklands and open, agricultural areas.

The species is reckoned to be both terrestrial and arboreal, but is certainly more commonly found on the ground. Roadkill specimens are commonly found in rural areas, thus the species clearly leads ranges widely in search of its prey.

It has a varied diet of other vertebrates including small mammals, such as mice and rats, lizards and frogs.

Its body is moderately slender, its head only slightly larger than its body, and its eyes large. Its background colour gradates from yellowish-brown on the head, neck and anterior one-third of the body, to dark grey or black posteriorly.

In the field, it is easily identified by the distinctive patterning and colouration of the head and anterior half of the body : there is a vivid yellow stripe along the vertebral line, a series of black and white markings on the lower flanks, and a dark stripe which extends from behind the eye to the corner of the jaw. 

On the Asian mainland the Malayan Racer occurs in parts of Cambodia and Vietnam, southern Burma and southern Thailand, and Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Offshore it occurs in at least Sumatra, the Riau Archipelago, Borneo and Java.


Fig 1 : A 45 cm specimen from Singapore, with typical markings on the head and neck.

Fig 2 : Close-up of the same specimen showing the arrangement of dark stripes on the head and neck.

Fig 3 : Full body shot showing the yellow vertebral stripe and the posterior two-thirds of the body which is dark grey to black.


References : H10, H12