Flora index
Fauna index
guide to the mangroves of singapore
Vertebrates: Reptiles
Peter K L Ng and N Sivasothi (editors)

Of the reptiles found in Singapore mangroves, snakes tend to attract attention as most people seem to have an inherent fear of them.

Dog-faced water snake
Cerebus rynchops
Family Colubridae
up to 100 cm

The Dog-faced water snake seems to be the most abundant.
close-up of dog-faced water snake on sand
Cerebus rynchops
is most easily seen when
hunting in sandy estuaries
It is easily observed in mangrove streams and prawn ponds at night when it emerges from hiding to hunt for fish. Being largely aquatic, its eyes are situated on the top of the head such that it is able to see above the water with the rest of the body submerged. Although it has venomous fangs in the rear of the head, the poison is mild and has not caused death.

File snake
Acrochordus granulatus
Family Acrochordidae
up to over 100 cm

Another aquatic piscivore, the File snake is covered in baggy, rough skin, and strikingly banded black-and-white.
Also nocturnal in habits, it occurs in mangrove streams as well as in open water out on the mudflats. This snake is not venomous. Although its colour pattern resembles that of the highly venomous true sea snakes (Familyc Hydrophiidae), its tail is tapered and not flattened into an oar-shape.

close up of shore pit-viper on branch Shore pit-viper
Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus
Family Crotalidae
up to about 100 cm

The venomous Shore pit-viper lives in trees and shrubs.
It has a nasty temperament, but tends to be secretive. It is nocturnal and feeds largely on birds and lizards.

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What is mangrove?

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Indirect uses
Potential uses

About Mangroves
in Singapore

Mangroves to visit
From "A Guide to Mangroves of Singapore", Peter K. L. Ng and N. Sivasothi (editors)
Volume 1: The Ecosystem and Plant Diversity and Volume 2: Animal Diversity
Authors: Kelvin K. P. Lim, Dennis H. Murphy, T. Morgany, N. Sivasothi, Peter K. L. Ng,
B. C. Soong, Hugh T. W. Tan, K. S. Tan & T. K. Tan
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre, sponsored by British Petroleum
2001 Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, The National University of Singapore & The Singapore Science Centre