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File Snakes: Acrochordidae


The file snakes usually live in warm, shallow waters. The Arafura and Java file snakes live in freshwater streams; lagoons, or shallow bodies of saltwater near the sea; and rivers. In the dry season, the Arafura file snake is also found in billabongs (BILL-uh-bongs), which are dried-up streambeds. During the rainy season, it will slither into flooded grasslands. The Java file snake, on the other hand, occasionally swims into the salty ocean water for short periods of time. Little file snakes can live in both freshwater and saltwater areas, from the ocean to swamps near the coastline and to inland rivers, sometimes up to 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) out to sea and in water up to 66 feet (20 meters) deep. Little file snakes have salt glands, small groups of cells that may help them control the amount of salt in their bodies. Salt glands are also seen in many other animals that live in salty waters. Scientists have not studied this gland in detail, however, so they are unsure how important it is to the snake's survival in saltwater.


A little file snake sheds its skin differently from the typical land-living snake, which turns its skin inside out as it scoots out of the old skin. Instead, the little file snake first wriggles its body free of its loose skin, so that the skin is separate from the body but still in place around it. Then it works its way free, sometimes knotting its body to help it escape from the old skin. The skin remains right side out.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesFile Snakes: Acrochordidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Little File Snake (acrochordus Granulatus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, FILE SNAKES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS