> Subphylum Vertebrata > Class Reptilia > shore
This beautiful snake is often seen in our forests as well as coastal
According to Nick Baker, in Singapore, commonly encountered in a variety
of habitats including mangrove, secondary forest, and parks and gardens.
An adept climber, its favoured haunt is the crown of coconut palms.
Features: To about 1.2m
long. A long slender snake with a cylindrical body. The head is relatively
flat and distinct from body with yellow spots in five bands. Colours
upperside black 'netting' pattern on golden yellow or green, sometimes
with a row of red flowery pattern along the centre. It is mildly venomous.
Soaring Serpents: Also called
the 'Flying tree snake' they don't actually fly or glide but instead,
perform a sort of parachute jump. To do this, they "suck in their
guts" to form a U-shaped half-cylinder along the entire length of
their bodies. The outer edges of their belly scales are rigid while
the central portion of their belly scales fold upwards. This concave
surface acts like a parachute, and increases air resistance to prolong
the "flight". The snake has some degree of control, undulating through
the air as if swimming, holding its tail rigidly upwards and twisting
the tail from side to side for balance. In this way, they can cross
as much as 100m, although they crash land clumsily. This allows them
to cross long distances quickly, perhaps to catch prey, escape predators
or simply to move around. They generally parachute from tree to tree,
but sometimes from tree to ground. To achieve this feat, they first
have to climb up a tall launch point, which is not a problem as they
have ridged (keeled) belly scales to help them grip vertical surfaces.
What does it eat? According to
Nick Baker, it hunts small prey, mainly tree-dwelling lizards. Their
venom is mild, and affects only their small prey. Their fangs are
short, located at the back of the mouth, and are not hypodermic-like;
the venom is injected through grooves in the fangs. Thus, they can
only inject venom into prey that is well inside their mouths.
Flying babies: Little is known
about their breeding habits. They lay 6-11 eggs, hatchlings are 15-20cm
long and have the same pattern as the adults but their colours are
Yellow spots form five bands across the head.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Feb 12
shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.
This one landed on the road from a tall tree.
Pulau Ubin, Jan 11
tree snakes on Singapore shores
- 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.
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.
Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Thailand, Peninsular
Malaysia and Singapore New Holland. pp 144.