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File Snakes: Acrochordidae

Little File Snake (acrochordus Granulatus): Species Account

Physical characteristics: The little file snake is rough skinned, with a thick body and a small head. Its back is dark brown with yellowish to reddish stripes. It has loose, baggy skin. Little file snakes are the smallest of the three file snake species, at about 20 to 28 inches (51 to 71 centimeters) long.

Geographic range: The little file snake lives from the western coast of India through the tropical regions of Southeast Asia (including Indonesia and the Philippines) to New Guinea and northern Australia.

Habitat: This snake is mainly a saltwater animal, although it can also live in freshwater. It usually is found in shallow water just a few feet deep, but it has also been seen in ocean water up to 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) from shore and 66 feet (20 meters) deep.

Diet: The little file snake eats mainly the spiny-finned fishes called gobies (GO-bees) and other goby-like fishes and crustaceans.

Behavior and reproduction: This snake rarely leaves the water. It can easily stay underwater for two hours and, if necessary, up to five hours at a time. Although it is a very good swimmer, it usually moves slowly along the muddy water bottom. It is active mainly at night, when it hunts for food. These snakes probably mate in the fall. The females lay eggs about once every other year. A typical litter has five eggs, but there may be as few as one egg or as many as twelve. Larger females have larger numbers of young.

Little file snakes and people: Some people hunt little file snakes for their skin, which is used as leather.

Conservation status: The little file snake is not considered to be endangered or threatened. ∎

The little file snake can easily stay underwater for two hours and, if necessary, up to five hours at a time. (Illustration by Wendy Baker. Reproduced by permission.)



Creagh, Carson. Reptiles. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1996.

Mattison, Chris. The Encyclopedia of Snakes. New York: Facts on File, 1995.

Web sites:

"File Snakes." Singapore Zoological Gardens Docents. http://www.szgdocent.org/cc/c-file.htm (accessed on September 10, 2004).

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