Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's a non-venomous "wolf snake"

Many, many thanks to everyone who is helping me identify the snake that the cats brought back.

My friend consulted a herpetologist who is doing her PhD and here is what she says:
The snake is Lycodon capucinus or wolf snake. Feed on geckos, small frogs and very common even inside offices if situated near jungles. This is a non-venomous snake.

I had a horrible day yesterday thinking it may be a cobra or later, a python (what if there are big ones around?), so worried for all the cats, inside and outside.

Some information about the wolf snake:

Description: To 76cm long. A small snake of average girth. Head is somewhat flattened. Body is brown to brownish purple with very indistinct pale to yellowish bands that sometimes meld together into reticulations of brown, white, and yellow. Head is brown with pale yellow lips and a pale yellow collar around the neck. Underbelly is whitish to yellow. 

Habitat: Naturally found in forest, but has become common in urban areas near small pockets of trees. The Common Wolf Snake is often found inside homes, where it preys on geckos and small rodents.

Contribution to the ecosystem: The Common Wolf Snake helps control lizard populations, especially geckos and skinks. It also feeds on frogs, small mice and baby rats in the home. This snake is eaten by larger snakes and monitors.

Danger to humans: This small snake is completely harmless to humans.

Thank you, everyone, for all your help.

Further confirmation:

From: Othman Ayeb
Sent: Sunday, March 24, 2013 1:54 PM
Subject: Re: Can you help to identify this snake?

Thank you for you email.

From my experience , the snake that your cat kill is House or Wolf snake. This snake is non venomous and come to our house bcs they eat lizard or small gecko. Sometimes this snake sheds their skin in our house .
Hope the information help you and pls feel free to email me if you have any question about snake future.
Thank you.

Othman Rimbawi

En Othman Ayeb is based in Pulau Langkawi.  He is a professional snake catcher/handler and in 1999 he held a Guinness World Record for handling the most number of snakes.  He runs an outfit called Rimbawi Geo Discovery in Pulau Langkawi that conducts outdoor adventure trips for tourists.

I thank all friends who helped me forward the photo to these professionals to help identify it. I was too scared to do it myself! It's a phobia. Phobias are irrational, unexplainable fears. Sobs...

More information from friends:
General Characteristics
Length- General Length is 60cm approx but can grow up to 83cm. 

Behavior- Common Wolf is a nocturnal species and actives only during night time. It remain hidden in dark and silent places including cracks on wall, gap between bricks and wood, rocks, electric board, brick piles etc during day time. Lives in old houses, piles of stones and bricks, under rocks, cracks between rocks, wood caves etc. Wolf snakes are good climbers and easily climb on walls, wiring lines, door frames etc... They feed on Geckos, lizards  and skinks.

1 comment:

Joy E. Saga said...

I can imagine how the Wolf Snake could be misunderstood for a python. Almost same colouring. Good to know it is harmless.