Thailand Snake Notes

Common Keelback

Two of my friends went out and caught what we think is a common keelback (Xenochrophis flavipunctatus) snake in a pond. It got away from them once, and headed right back into an adjacent water pond.

Thailand keelback snakes love water.

Common keelback photo and video:

Close-up of the easily identifiable markings. These snakes are quite rare in Krabi. ©Vern Lovic.


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  1. I saw a common keel back in Thailand. I have a degree in biology and amateur herpetologist. I am used to handling non-venomous snakes. Yesterday, a common keel back was at risk for being run over by passing cars. The snake could not seem to get up a curb or was scared to do so and was looking for somewhere to hide. It was noon. Dark green snake with round eyes. I picked it up just behind the jaws. It calmed down. The rest of it’s body did not curl my arm.
    My question is that about 2cc of yellowish milky fluid was secreted on the underside of his neck. Since I don’t know of any toxins the Keelback secretes this made me curious. After I placed him in the safety area I washed my hands and did not touch any part of my body before doing so. Any idea what that fluid was?

    1. That’s super interesting. There are a couple of snakes in the Rhabdophis genus that have this milky white poisonous secretion on the top of the neck. Can you tell me the species name of the snake you’re calling a ‘common keelback’? Cheers

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