PREVALENCE: Not common
ACTIVE PERIOD: Active at night
KEY ID FEATURES: Yellowish tan with brown markings and distinctive red lacquer colored eyes
BEHAVIOR: Docile and slow moving, may squirm if handled but almost never bites
SIZE: Small - 30-40cm
OTHER: Specialized jaw for extracting snails from their shells
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.
Up to 40cm in length, the Chinese Slug Snake is a relatively small slow moving snake with a yellowish tan body with black and or dark brow brown markings resembling vertical bands. A rounded specialized head with a slightly thinner neck and proportioned body. Very distinctive red lacquer colored eyes with small vertical pupils. The Chinese Slug is also translucent when held up to light, a relatively unique physical nature amongst snakes in Hong Kong.
Completely nocturnal the Chinese Slug Snake is a docile hunter of snails and small slugs. Generally will stay still when approached and may squirm when handled but never bite and are not known to musk. May display defensive behavior including playing dead or rolling into a ball. One specimen was also observed to move into a defensive ‘S’ position and flatten its jaw but did not strike or gape.
Live in areas surrounding shallow slow moving or still bodies of water where their exclusive diet of small snails and slugs can be found. The prefer higher elevations and cooler temperatures. In addition to habitat close to water they also thrive in wooded habitats that frequently experience cloud mist. The Chinese Slug Snake is rare in Hong Kong found only in a few documented location.
NO SNAKE SHOULD EVER BE HANDLED BY ANYONE BUT EXPERTS: Generally unique in appearance and temperament. It should be noted that small snakes can be particularly dangerous due to difficulty in properly identifying them and difficulty handling them. As such they should never be handled or approached.