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Red Mountain Keelback
   
   

Fig 1
 


Fig 2
 


Fig 3
 


 

 

Family : NATRICIDAE
Species : Amphiesma sanguineum
Maximum Size : 60 cm

This beautifully patterned snake inhabits montane forests in Peninsular Malaysia.

Little is known of the ecology of the species, however the specimen illustrated here was found active at night in a water-filled road culvert in Fraser's Hill, Pahang, at an elevation of around 1230 metres. The snake appeared to be actively hunting large tadpoles of the Malayan Flying Frog : the culvert is a regular breeding spot for this species of frog.

The snake appeared extremely shy, and was easily disturbed by flashlights : when disturbed it would retreat into a fissure. It appeared capable of remaining underwater for many minutes whilst hunting.

The dorsal surface of this snake is patterned with a complex arrangement of orange (or red), cream and black. The head is orange-brown to dark olive, and the lip scales are pale with dark edges. There is a pale vertebral line on the posterior part of the head and neck. The head is larger than the slender body, and the eyes are of moderate size.

The Red Mountain Keelback occurs in Cameron Highlands and Fraser's Hill in the state of Pahang, and parts of Selangor state.


Figs 1 to 3 : Specimen found in a road culvert at Fraser's Hill, Pahang, Peninsular Malaysia.


References : H12