PREVALENCE: Not common
ACTIVE PERIOD: Active at night
KEY ID FEATURES: Patternless ranging in color from tan to dark brown
BEHAVIOR: Relatively calm, may nip and squirm if handled but not dangerous
SIZE: Small - 30-40cm
OTHER: Completely flat color is relatively unique
QUICK ASSESSMENT 0-10
IMPORTANT: Many snakes have significant variance in coloration and pattern even within the same species. There can also be extreme differences in appearance from juveniles to adults so it is important to never assume you have properly identified a snake.
The Burrowing Rufous snake also called the Brown Burrowing Snake and the Rufous Burrowing Snake is a patternless snake ranging in color from light tan to dark brown. Long flat head proportional in width to the neck helps with burrowing through dirt and leaf litter. Small black eyes with an iridescent sheen to its scales.
A nocturnal species, the Rufous hunts slugs and earth worms on the forest floor and near streams and water culverts. Despite the nocturnal proclivities the authors have found Rufous active during early and late morning periods. They can be prone to fake strikes if handled but generally are quite docile. Quicker than some other terrestrial species they are still relatively deliberate and paced when fleeing, often stopping to try and burrow or find something to hide under.
Due to their favorite prey of slugs and worms they are often found on forest floors or near slow moving/still water or water culverts. Widely distributed but relatively concentrated into small clusters across Hong Kong.
NO SNAKE SHOULD EVER BE HANDLED BY ANYONE BUT EXPERTS: Not normally confused with other species due to its unique patternless appearance.