This Malayan Racer (Coloegnathus flavolineata) photo was sent in by Camille Lemmens from the IDCThailand.net dive shop in Koh Samui, in Suratthani Province.
Correction – I haven’t looked at this for ages… it looks more like a melanistic Coelognathus radiata than it does the C flavolineata. I’ll have to find a good photo of that one and put it up here!
Malayan racers are similar to the Copperheaded Racer snakes in Thailand, but they are darker and they don’t have the nasty attitude. They don’t often strike, and they can be hand-held usually without any problems. If one knows how to handhold a snake.
Best way to hand hold a snake? Put your hand or arm under it’s mid body and lift up. It thinks you are a tree.
The wrong way to hand-hold a snake is to grab it’s tail or mid body clenched between your fingers – it will take that as aggression and may strike.
Please don’t generalize this to all snakes… some snakes should never be held – vipers, Naja kaouthia and others… but, some can be safely held.
Malayan racers exhibit a flaring of their neck and first 1/3rd of their body – even 1/2 their bodies, in a vertical flare. If we think of a cobra flare as horizontal, you can then picture the flaring of the Malayan Racer. Other snakes known to flare like this?
Copperheaded racers, Red-Tailed Racers, Oriental Whip Snake… are all that I can remember at the moment. I am sure there are more.
If you see a Malayan racer in the wild – just leave it alone. They can get big – 2+ meters – and give a wicked bite if they want to. They eat large numbers of rats – so, they’re a good snake to have around.