Rainbow Mud Snake ( Enhydris enhydris Schneider, 1799 )

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Scientific Name: 
Enhydris enhydris (Schneider, 1799)
Regional Names: 
Rainbow Mud Snake, Rainbow Water Snake, Smooth-scaled Water Snake.
In India it is found in whole of north-east region from Uttar Pradesh to eastwards; east Indian states including most of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, few parts of Central India (Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh), Eastern Ghats up to as south as Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (?). Also found in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
Venom Type: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Can be identified by checking dark stripes or series of dots on robust body. 


New born- 14.3-16.2cm
Average length- 50cm.
Maximum length- Male: 70cm, Female: 88cm.

Body moderately stout, thick and robust. Covered with smooth scales of rhomboidal shape. Dorsal olive brown, grayish or greenish with longitudinal stripes along the body with no lateral spots or bars. Top stripe broadest and darker than stripes guarding it. Sometimes stripes are lines by fine black edge on their border scales. First three dorsal rows uniform yellow in most of the individuals.

Ventral –
Belly yellow-white with series of somewhat black dots forming a serrated mid line along belly; also grayish-brown outer edge on each side.

Head –
Head small, scarcely broader than neck; snout obtusely rounded. Top of the head similar to dorsal color. Upper lip color similar to belly. Eyes with vertically elliptical pupil. Nostrils and eyes at the upper level of head.

Tail –
Relatively long tail ends with a pointed tip. Color similar to dorsal. Underside similar to rest of belly with a serrated midline.

Nasal suture extends to loreal; internasal 1, in contact with loreal; supralabial 8, 4th in contact with eyes; loreal 1, in contact with first 3 supralabials; preocular 1, postocular 2, temporal 1+2 or 1+3.
Smooth scales in 21-27: 21/23: 19/21 rows.
153-174 (Male), 153-170 (Female); anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
64-83 (Male), 57-76 (Female), paired.
Lives in stagnant and slow moving aquatic habitat which includes paddy fields, canals, rivers and other wetlands. Prefers shallow water with muddy substrate. It is confined in modified aquatic environment and can be seen in small pools around human habitats. New born individuals choose mud-root tangle near water.
Natural History: 
Diurnal and crepuscular; aquatic and often leaves aquatic environment. Behavior usually non-offensive and docile on handling. Bites on mishandling which gives local swelling and pain which can retain for few hours. Viviparous. Mating occurs during winter months; gestation period usually 5-6 months. Female gives birth to 4-18 young.
Feeds mainly on fresh water fishes; also feeds on amphibians including their tadpoles.
In India direct threats are killing in paddy fields during work, road kills and due to fishing net. Population of this species is declining due to loss of unpolluted fresh water bodies and paddy fields. Due to pollution and poisoning in its habitat population of its prey species (fishes) is affected. In other parts (outside Indian subcontinent) this species is abundant but reasons of threats are almost same. In many parts of its range in other countries this species is consumed as edible animal.
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