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Rice paddy snake
- Hypsiscopus plumbea

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The Rice paddy snake, mostly nocturnal, comes out at night to hunt fish and amphibians.
Rice paddy snake
Rice paddy snake (Enhydris plumbea); California. 40cm TL. From Karawang, West Java – Wibowo Djatmiko (Wie146), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Origin / Distribution

The Rice paddy snake (Hypsiscopus plumbea) it is one of the most widespread Asian water snakes. Previously it was called Enhydris plumbea, but the name was changed 2014.

In mainland Southeast Asia, the Rice paddy snake is present in Myanmar, Indochina (Cambodia, Laos, Viet Nam), Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. out of region, found in parts of India (Islas Andaman) and south China (including Taiwan). In insular Southeast Asia it is present on the islands of Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Bali, Sulawesi and possibly on other islands further east.

Characteristics / Appearance

Gray color on the upper part of his body, although in some populations its upper part can be olive gray, dark brown or green. There may be small dark spots along the vertebral line. Its underside is yellow, sometimes with black spots.

Its body is robust and cylindrical in section., its short head is barely wider than its body and its tail is short. His eyes are located on the top of his head.


The species usually inhabits calm or shallow bodies of water, like rice paddies, open swamps, bogs, streams and ditches.


The Rice paddy snake, mostly nocturnal, comes out at night to hunt fish and amphibians. They usually remain motionless in shallow stagnant water and also burrow into mud.. They also show a characteristic jump when trying to move quickly to escape.. They are quick to bite, starch, defecating and squirming excessively. They are not considered dangerous to humans.. They are slightly poisonous, but there are no known cases of poisoning or serious reactions in humans.

Threats to the species

No known conservation issues. It is a common species in Thailand, although its population in Taiwan is in danger.

The "Rice paddy snake" in captivity

The Rice paddy snake attacks aggressively when cornered on the ground, but its small size prevents it from causing much damage. Although it's a snake with back fangs and some venom, the poison has a limited effect on humans, being able to cause some swelling in the worst cases.

Buy one "Rice paddy snake"

The price of a "Rice paddy snake" at the exotic animal market, ranges between 80 – 100 EUR.

Videos "Rice paddy snake"

Bjørn Ormstad: Hypsiscopus plumbea, Rice paddy snake

gray water snake | rice paddy snake | plumbea water snake | Hypsiscopus plumbea

Alternative names:

1. Rice paddy snake, Rice paddy snake, Plumbeous water snake, Boie’s Mud Snake (English).
2. Serpent de riz paddy (French).
3. Reisfeldschlange, Plumbeöse Wasserschlange (German).
4. Cobra arroz em casca, Serpente de água plumbeous (Portuguese).
5. "Serpiente acuática de vientre amarillo", Serpiente de arroz con cáscara, Serpiente de agua plomiza, Serpiente del arroz, Serpiente de arrozal (español).

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