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Pipe Snakes: Cylindrophiidae

Physical Characteristics

The family name Cylindrophiidae points out one of the pipe snakes' most noticeable features: their tube- or cylinder-shaped bodies. The family includes nine species, which are often called Asian pipe snakes to set them apart from other families of snakes that some people also call pipe snakes. These include the somewhat similar-looking false coral snakes of the family Aniliidae and the false blind snakes of the family Anomochilidae.

The pipe snakes are usually dark brown to black with yellow or reddish bands running from the belly up the sides of the back. The back bands are sometimes very pale and difficult to see. The underside of the tail, however, usually has a very bright red or yellow tip. Some pipe snakes have stripes, and others have light-colored spots that color the middle of the snake's back from head to tail. Counted from one side over the back and down the other side, they have seventeen to twenty-three rows of scales. The head, which is no wider than the neck, is rounded and contains two small eyes with round or slightly oblong pupils and two nostrils that each sit inside a single scale. Pipe snakes also have a very short, pointy tail that is about as thick as the rest of the body. The tail in a snake begins at the vent, a slitlike opening on the underside of the animal. Pipe snakes are small- to medium-sized snakes, ranging from 1 to 3 feet (0.4 to 1 meters) long.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesPipe Snakes: Cylindrophiidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Red-tailed Pipe Snake (cylindrophis Ruffus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, PIPE SNAKES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS