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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrata > Class Reptilia > shore snakes
Puff-faced water snake
Homalopsis buccata
Family Homalopsidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? In a suitable freshwater habitat, they can be quite common. According to Baker, in Singapore, they are common in inland water bodies in rural areas and forests. However, they are only active at night. Elsewhere, they are found in rivers, swamps, canals and ponds. They are considered a pest on freshwater fish farms.

Features: To about 1.2m long. It has a brown stripe through the eye that forms a kind of W-shaped dark mask around the head, and dark-edged brown bands on a paler brown body. The bands tend to be faded in adults which may be a uniform grey-brown, while juveniles have black bands on red, orange or white. Mildly venomous, it is a gentle snake and will not bite if it is left alone.

What does it eat? It eats mainly fishes. Also frogs.

Baby snakes: Mama snake gives birth to live young in litters of 2-20.

Human uses: In Cambodia, this snake is heavily exploited and sold as food and for its skin in neighbouring countries such as Vietnam and China.

Status and threats:This snake is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Aug 06

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Aug 06

Puff-faced water snakes on Singapore shores

Photos Puff-faced water snakes for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Links References
  • Lim, Kelvin K. P. & Francis L K Lim, 1992. A Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of SingaporeSingapore Science Centre. 160 pp.
  • Baker, Nick and Kelvin Lim. 2008. Wild Animals of Singapore: A Photographic Guide to Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes Vertebrate Study Group, Nature Society (Singapore). 180 pp.
  • Stuebing, Robert B and Robert F. Inger. 1999. A Field Guide to the Snakes of Borneo Natural History Publications (Borneo). 254 pp.
  • Cox, Merel J., Peter Paul van Dijk, Jarujin Nabhitabhata and Kumthorn Thirakhupt. 1998. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore New Holland. pp 144.
  • Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
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