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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Species Fact Profile: Tentacled Snake (Erpeton tentaculatum)

Tentacled Snake
Erpeton tentaculatum (Lacepede, 1800)

Range: Coastal Southeast Asia
Habitat: Stagnant/Slow Bodies of Moving Fresh or Brackish Water, Ditches, Rice Paddies
Diet: Small Fish
Social Grouping: Solitary
Reproduction: Ovivioparous (eggs hatch inside body of the mother, young born live).  Up to 10 young are produced in a litter, which is delivered underwater.
Lifespan: 12 Years
Conservation Status: Not Evaluated

  • Average size 50-75 centimeters, but up to 90 centimeters long, and weigh up to 150 grams
  • Body coloration varies from dark brown to pale gray or tan.  Specimens often have contrasting stripes or blotches.
  • The species name refers to the two small "tentacles", up to 2 centimeters long, on the snout.  These are believed to be used for the detection of prey.  They are the only snake species to possess tentacles
  • Capable of staying underwater for up to 30 minutes without coming up for air.  They are highly aquatic and move very awkwardly on land
  • During the dry season, they may bury themselves in the mud until the rains replenish their water sources
  • Hunt by resting motionlessly in the water, their bodies curved into a "J" shape ready to strike.  When a fish approaches, the snake twitches part of its body, startling the fish into swimming closer to the mouth.
  • Tentacled snakes are very mildly venomous - their venom is specialized for the fish that they prey upon, and has no impact on humans except for - in some cases - mild itching.  The small fangs are located in the back of the mouth

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