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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrata > Class Reptilia > shore snakes
Banded file snake
Acrochordus granulatus
Family Acrochordidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This snake with bands is sometimes seen on some of our shores, near seagrass meadows and mangroves. According to Baker, it is mainly found in the Johor Straits including Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and was also found out of water, hidden in mudlobster mounds. A nocturnal snake, it is usually seen in the late evening or early morning. It is widely distributed from India to Southeast Asia to southern China and northern Australia. It was previously known as Chersydrus granulatus.

To about 1m, but usually shorter. Body cylindrical, banded with black or brown bands on white or beige. The bands are broad on the top of the snake but narrows at the sides. It does not have a distinct 'neck', the head is small and blunt. On the underside, it has no enlarged scales and instead has a prominent fold of skin along the centre of the belly. The tail is tapered to a point and is not flattened. The Banded file snake is non-venomous and harmless to humans.

Sometimes confused with the highly venomous Yellow-lipped sea snake (Laticauda colubrina). Here's how to tell apart banded snakes seen near the coast. It may also be confused with eels. Here's more on how to tell apart sea snakes, eels and eel-like animals.

Another file snake recorded for Singapore is the Elephant trunk water snake (Acrochordus javanicus). It is longer, grows to about 2.9m. It is not banded and is olive brown to grey brown with faintly marbled black pattern on the sides. The underside is lighter than the upperside. There is no prominent central fold on the underside. In slow-moving waters of estuaries and freshwater streams and canals.

What does it eat?
Mainly small fishes such as bottom dwelling gobies. The snake has a loose skin covered with small rough scales. The file-like skin helps it to grip its slippery prey. The snake has tiny eyes and a small mouth.

File Babies: Mama snake does not lay eggs and instead, gives birth to live young in litters of 5-10.

Pulau Sekudu, Jul 05

Loose, granulated skin
Pulau Sekudu, Jul 05

Central fold on the underside
Pulau Sekudu, Jul 05

Loose skin and the tail is not paddle-shaped.
Pulau Sekudu, Jul 09

Small eyes (clouded, suggesting
the snake is about to moult)

Banded file snakes on Singapore shores

Photos of Banded file snakes for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Pulau Sekudu, Jun 17
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Covered with algae!
Pulau Semakau North, Aug 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

A pair of snakes mating.
Pulau Semakau, Oct 11
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.

Covered with algae!
Pulau Semakau, Aug 14
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.

Pulau Semakau, Aug 11
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Covered with algae!
Pulau Semakau, Nov 07
Photo shared by Lin Juanhui on her flickr.

Filmed on Pulau Semakau Aug 2013

Shared by Heng Pei Yan on her blog

Filmed on Pulau Semakau Aug 2013

banded file snake - 01Feb2011 from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.
Shared by Heng Pei Yan on her blog

Family Acrochordidae recorded for Singapore
from Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore.
*from Lim, Kelvin K. P. & Francis L K Lim, 1992. A Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Singapore

  Family Acrochordidae
  Acrochordus javanicus
*Acrochordus granulatus



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