ORTHRIOPHIS TAENIURUS FRIESEI

Taiwan Beauty Snake

黑眉錦蛇 (hei1mei2jin3she2)

Status: Protected (Cat. III)

Non-venomous

 

VIDEOS

Taiwan Beauty Snake eating mouse (1)

Taiwan Beauty Snake eating mouse (2)

Hand-feeding Taiwan Beauty Snake

Taiwan Beauty Snake drinking

More videos of Taiwan Beauty Snake feeding

 

FIELD REPORTS

Two Monster Taiwan Beauty Snakes

 

MORE PHOTOS

Taiwan Beauty Snakes in the wild

More Taiwan Beauty Snakes in the wild

Juvenile Taiwan Beauty Snake in the wild

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Family Colubridae, subfamily Colubrinae

 

Max. length 270 cm

 

Occurrence in Taiwan

Throughout Taiwan, up to 2000 m altitude. Not common. (Distribution map)

 

Global Distribution

This subspecies is endemic to Taiwan.

 

Description

 

Large snake; total length up to 280 cm. There are 17-25 (25 at mid-body) rows of scales, which are feebly keeled except those on the flanks. Head is roughly triangular; body is moderately heavy or robust; tail is long. Eye is medium to large; iris is olive gray to dirty yellow, darkened by fine diffuse black pigment, and a broad gray black to black horizontal band runs across eye and appears as continuation of prominent dark band behind eye; pupil is round, jet black with ring of dull yellow. Tongue is large, with black to blue-black stem which is darker than fork tips. Upper head is olive yellow to dark olive gray and may be tinged with brown; the labials are lighter. There is a prominent black band extending from eye near to corner of mouth. The general color of the upper body is olive yellow to yellow gray tinged with varying shades of green and black. In the anterior two-thirds of body, there are two dorsal rows of black blotches and two on the flanks. On the posterior body, the designs turn into a broad median stripe of olive yellow and two lateral series of broad dark (which appear as two intact lateral stripes in tail), beneath which there are two light yellow to yellow stripes. Ventral head and neck are white to cream. The other areas of the ventral body and tail are yellow, with few small irregular gray or gray black designs anteriorly followed by more numerous and progressively darker designs posteriorly. Most designs occur in outer quarter or third of the ventrals and form a pair of longitudinal bands in posterior third of body and in tail. Anal scale is divided and subcaudals are paired.

 

Biology & Ecology

Orthriophis taeniurus friesei is the largest snake in Taiwan. This cathemeral (diurnal as well as nocturnal) ratsnake is found in grasslands and forests in lowlands or mountains, as well as around human dwellings. It preys on frogs, birds, bird eggs, and rodents. It mates in May; females produce 2-13 eggs of approximately 5x3 cm per clutch in summer. Hatchlings measure about 40 cm in total length. It is quite agile, moves fairly fast on the ground as well as in shrubs or trees. This snake is docile and adapts well to captivity. When first confined, it may assume a defensive attitude and emit low hissing sounds.

 

Etymology

"The genus Orthriophis is named for the early morning activity of its species. Orthriophis stems from the Greek words orthros, meaning "dawn", and ophis = snake." (Source)

taeniurus stems from the Greek taenia = ribbon and oura = tail, referring to the striped tail.

The Chinese name 黑眉錦蛇 (hei1mei2jin3she2) means "Black-browed (黑眉) Beauty Snake (錦蛇)".

 

Notes

---

 

FURTHER INFO

Reptile Database

Wikispecies

Natural History and Captive Husbandry of the Taiwan Beauty Snake

 

HOME

Site copyright 2009-2010 Hans Breuer & William Christopher Murphy

   All images on this site are copyright of their respective owners and may only be used with their permission