Friday, December 28, 2012


Family Elapidae

This family contains the kraits, coral snakes, cobras and sea snakes.

Kraits (Genus Bungarus)

Two species can be found in Singpore, namely Malayan Krait (Bungarus candidus) and Banded Krait (Bungarus fasciatus).

Dead Banded Krait on Pulau Ubin ©Tan KH

Coral Snakes (Genus Calliophis)

Blue Malayan Coral Snake (C. bivirgatus) is a highly venomous snake. It is rare and inhabits forested areas. The other coral snake that can be found in Singapore is Banded Malayan Coral Snake (C. intestinalis).

Blue Malayan Coral Snake at Chestnut Area ©Eddy Lee


Cobras are familiar snakes, but it is unusual to encounter them. They are well known for the hood that they can puff up when threatened. They would typically have slithered off before one can spot them. They are highly poisonous. There are 2 species in Singapore. Equatorial Spitting Cobra (Naja sumatrana) is so called because it is able to spit its venom when threatened. Also know as the Black Spitting Cobra, this is the cobra one is more likely to encounter. It can be found in desolated areas. Care must be taken when walking in such areas. It has a distinctive white pattern on the hood, which can be seen more clearly when puffed up. It is typically all black and is much smaller than the King Cobra. King Cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) is so called because it feeds on other snakes and it is much larger than the other cobras. It is typically brownish in colour. A large specimen is deadly to human. Fortunately, it is found mainly in forested areas, although it can found in desolated areas on rare occasions.

Equatorial Spitting Cobra hiding in Mud Lobster mound at Pulau Ubin: ©Tan KH. ©Danny Lau

King Cobra at Sungei Buloh ©Tan KH

Sea Snakes

11 species of sea snakes can be found in Singapore.

Yellow-lipped Sea Krait (Laticauda colubrina)
Horned Sea Snake (Acalyptophis peronii)
Marbled Sea Snake (Aipysurus eydouxii)
Stoke's Sea Snake (Astrotia stokesii)
Beaked Sea Snake (Enhydrina schistosa)
Blue-banded Sea Snake (Hydrophis cyanocinctus)
Striped Sea Snake (Hydrophis fasciatus)
Kloss' Sea Snake (Hydrophis klossi)
Short Sea Snake (Lapemis curtus)
Small-headed Sea Snake (Microcephalophis gracilis)
Yellow-bellied Sea Snake (Pelamis platurus)


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