- Common names: sunbeam snake.
is a non-venomous sunbeam snake species
found in Southeast Asia
. This is a primitive snake known for its highly iridescent scales. No subspecies
are currently recognized.
Grows to an average of about 1 m (3 ft 3 in). A fossorial
species, the head is wedge-shaped and narrow with little neck delineation, which makes it easy to push through the soil. Its most defining characteristic is its iridescent
, highly polished scales that give this snake its common name. They have a layer of dark pigmentation just below the surface on each scale that enhances the iridescence. This is a primitive form of snake with both boid
characteristics; which family it belongs to is still a matter of debate.
Found in China
, the Andaman
and Nicobar Islands
, West Malaysia
, Penang Island
, Singapore Island
, East Malaysia
(the Riau Archipelago
, We, Simalur, Nias
, the Mentawai Islands
) and the Philippines
). The type locality
given is "Java."
Tends to live in open areas such as forest clearings, gardens and parks. Often encountered in rice paddies.
These snake are constrictors
, killing their prey by suffocation in their muscular coils. They are fossorial
and spend most of their time below ground.
The diet is varied, consisting primarily of frogs, reptiles, including other snakes, and small mammals. The young look very similar to the adults, except that they have a strong white "collar" of scales evident just below the head. This coloration fades within the first year.
, with females laying up to 10 eggs at a time.