Pipe Snakes: Cylindrophiidae
Red-tailed Pipe Snake (cylindrophis Ruffus): Species Account
Physical characteristics: The small, nonvenomous (nahn-VEH-nuh-mus) red-tailed pipe snake is a black snake with reddish or white bands. The back is slightly iridescent (IH-rih-DEH-sent), which means that it reflects different colors depending on how light bounces off. In the bright sunshine, for example, the scales may shine blue, green, yellow, or red. The undersides have a black and white checkerboard pattern, except for the tail. The tail is banded with black, white, and sometimes red and has a red tip. Adults usually reach about 15.5 to 16 inches (39 to 41 centimeters) long but can grow to about twice that size.
Geographic range: Red-tailed pipe snakes are found in southern China and much of Indonesia and southeast Asia.
Habitat: Red-tailed pipe snakes spend most of their time under leaves or in burrows that they can dig themselves. They live in forests, often near a water source, and in rice paddies, but they may also live in nearby villages and towns.
Diet: It eats other snakes, lizards, and eels. A constrictor, it is able to squeeze the prey animals until they cannot breathe and either pass out or die before being eaten.
Behavior and reproduction: The red-tailed pipe snake is mostly known for its behavior when it feels threatened. The snake will flatten out its body and raise its tail, moving it much as a cobra would wave its flattened neck and head. Although the tail can do no harm, the display is often enough to convince an attacking animal to leave the snake alone. This species gives birth to baby snakes rather than eggs. The females typically have two young at a time but occasionally have up to twelve. Young are about 7 inches (18 centimeters) long at birth.
Red-tailed pipe snakes and people: Humans and these snakes have little contact.
Conservation status: These species are not listed as endangered or threatened. Like many other species that live much of their lives underground, however, scientists have little information about their numbers in the wild. ∎
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Burnie, David, and Don Wilson, eds. The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. New York: DK Publishing, 2001.
Mattison, C. The Encyclopedia of Snakes. New York: Facts on File, 1995.
Mehrtens, John M. Living Snakes of the World in Color. New York: Sterling Publishing, 1987.
Zug, G. R., L. J. Vitt, and J. P. Caldwell. Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. 2nd ed. San Diego: Academic Press, 2001.
Cylindrophis maculates (Linne's Earth Snake) Linne 1754." Upeka Premaratne. http://members.fortunecity.com/ukp001/naja/cylindrophiidae/cylindrophis_maculatus.htm (accessed on September 22, 2004).
"Red-tailed Pipe Snake." Ecology Asia. http://www.ecologyasia.com/Vertebrates/red-tailed_pipe_snake.htm (accessed on September 22, 2004).
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