Siebold's Water Snake ( Ferania sieboldi Schlegel, 1837 )

  • Sharebar
Scientific Name: 
Ferania sieboldi (Schlegel, 1837)
Regional Names: 
Siebold's Mud Snake,
In India its distribution is continuous in North-east region from Delhi, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern parts of West Bengal and eastwards to Mizoram and Nagaland. In Central India it has been recoded from Bhopal and Sagar of Madhya Pradesh. Probably found in most of other North-east states. Overall distributed in Ganga, Brahmaputra, Yamuna and their tributary rivers also in patches form in large lakes. Also found in Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar.
Characteristics for identification: 

Morphologically it can be identified by checking smooth scales, dorsal clearly marked with asymmetrically arranged dark markings which often matches with Common Sand Boa. 


New born- 18cm approx.
Average length- 50cm.
Maximum length- 78cm.

Dorsal -
Body moderately stout, thick, robust and covered with smooth scales. Dorsal pale brown, olive mud green or whitish with broad and closely spaced asymmetrical marks of dark brown or dark olive mud green color which are lined by black. These markings remain interconnected on top. Light region bears smaller but prominent blotches on 1-6 rows which remain in touch with belly.

Ventral -
Belly yellowish and heavily marked with dark brown or blackish patches from neck to tail.

Head -
Head small, scarcely broader than neck; snout rounded. Top of the head similar to dorsal color. Two light stripes converge between eyes and posteriorly joins with another marking which is found on neck or nape. Upper lip color similar to belly. Eyes with vertically elliptical pupil. Nostrils and eyes at the upper level of head. Underside of head usually less marked with dark colors and more yellowish-white.

Tail -
Rather short and thick tail ends with a pointed tip. Color darker than dorsal and usually patched with yellowish-white on black. Underside similarly darker than rest of belly and heavily marked with black.

Internasal 2, in contact with loreal; supralabial 7-9, 1-3 in contact with loreal, 4th or 4th & 5th in contact with eyes, last one or two divided; loreal 1, in contact with first 3 supralabials; preocular 1 or 2, postocular 2, temporal 1+2 or absent.
Smooth scales in 29-30: 27-29: 21/23.
143-158; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
28-56, paired; hemipenis extends to 14th caudal plate.
Found in rivers and large waterbodies containing mud, dense aquatic vegetation and similar hiding places around them.
Natural History: 
Crepuscular and preferably aquatic. Remain embedded in mud while roosting. Behavior alert and more aggressive than majority of Homalopsidae. On disturbance it throws body into loose coil and tries to attack on getting closer. Viviparous. Female bears up to 7 embryos and gives birth during monsoon months.
Feeds on fresh water fishes, frogs, toads.
Destruction of habitat including removal of aquatic vegetation and disturbance of mud may cause its population decline. In many parts of its range its individuals often got trapped in fishing nets and so got killed or injured.
Look Alike
Authors & Contributors: