Sunbeam Snake
Non Venomous
Snakes Of India
Medicinal Plants
Kerala Tourism
Snake Of India
Family: Xenopeltidae
Genus: Xenopeltis
Common name: Sunbeam snake
Scientific name: Xenopeltis unicolor Reinwardt, 1827
Species: X. unicolor
Adults: 1 m
Maximum: 1250mm (49in)
Region: In India Snake found in Nicobar Islands. Also China (Guangdong and Yunnan), Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, West Malaysia, Penang Island, Singapore Island, East Malaysia (Sarawak), Indonesia (the Riau Archipelago, Bangka, Billiton, Sumatra, We, Simalur, Nias, the Mentawai Islands [Siberut], Borneo, Java and Sulawesi) and the Philippines (Balabac, Bongao, Jolo and Palawan).
Distribution: Grows to an average of about 1 m (3 ft 3 in). A fossorial species, the head is wedge-shaped and narrow with little neck delineation, which makes it easy to push through the soil. Its most defining characteristic is its iridescent, highly polished scales that give this snake its common name. They have a layer of dark pigmentation just below the surface on each scale that enhances the iridescence. The young's look very similar to the adults, except that they have a strong white "collar" of scales evident just below the head. This coloration fades within the first year.
This is a primitive form of snake with both boid and python characteristics; which family it belongs to is still a matter of debate.
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