Puff Faced Water Snake – Non Venomous – Not Dangerous

Puff Faced Water Snake - Homalopsis buccata from Nakhon si Thammarat
Juvenile Puff Faced Water Snake – Homalopsis buccata – Not Dangerous. ©2010 ThailandSnakes.com

(Page Updated: 5 March 2017)

Homalopsis buccata (Puff-faced Water Snake)

Thai – (ngu hua galog, ngu leuam ao)

Size – Average length around 70 cm. Maximum about 120 centimeters. The young are very thin – like a pencil. The adults are thick – like a forearm or even a human leg.

Description – Triangular head distinct from neck. Color varies quite a bit. Brown with incomplete orange bands on the dorsum and laterals, or brown with beige bands, or black with grey bands. Many variations. Sometimes the snake appears quite orange.

Range – All over Thailand and almost always beside or in water: Pools, streams, rivers, puddles, lakes. They are not found on hills or mountains.

Food – Prey includes fish, frogs, and tadpoles primarily.

Behavior – The water snake Homalopsis buccata lives in fresh and salty mixed with fresh – brackish water. These snakes live in and near any body of water – natural or man-made. Puff-Faced Watersnakes are found almost always in the water or on the bank. Small holes in the bank are often home for these snakes.  This snake is primarily active at night, but I have found a few during the daytime.

Young – Born alive without eggs. Coloration – orange and black bands.

Danger – I’ve found dozens of these snakes and they are typically strong and active biters. They can strike like a viper – backward and vertically. I’ve been bitten in the finger by a 70 cm. long snake when I was 5 inches away from the head, coming from behind to grab the neck. With the bright headlamp in his eyes, I don’t know how he could have possibly seen my hand coming. It wasn’t a glancing strike, he bit and held on for a couple minutes. I have heard others say these snakes don’t tend to bite. Maybe they are talking about in their experiences in the pet-trade.

Range – Bangladesh; Myanmar, Cambodia; Thailand; Vietnam; Indonesia; Laos; Malaysia; Singapore; India; Nepal; Pulau Bangka

Homalopsis buccata – Puff-faced Water Snake

Puff-faced Water Snake Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Homalopsis
Species: H. buccata
Binomial name
Homalopsis buccata

Classification by Linnaeus in 1758

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