July 2007 — Oriental Whip Snake

BY ANGELA HIJJAS

Oriental whip snake
Ahaetulla prasina
Mildly venomous

The brilliant green of this snake drew my attention to it as I walked through a deeply shaded area of the garden; fortunately it stayed motionless for the camera and the dogs didn’t disturb it.  They are mainly tree bound but can sometimes be seen on the ground, and according to the text cited below they can be picked up with little risk of being bitten.  It feeds on small birds and lizards, and has the curious habit of sticking out its tongue for a long time.  About 4 to 6 young are born in a litter and they are light brown in colour.  The young feed on flies and small lizards, and attain a length of about 2 m when fully grown.  This species is common in Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia.

Fascinating Snakes of Southeast Asia-An Introduction by Francis Lim Leong Keng and Monty Lee Tat-Mong. 1989, Tropical Press Sdn. Bhd.