PREVALENCE: Not Common
ACTIVE PERIOD: Active at night
KEY ID FEATURES: Red/brown color with thin black bands outlined in white or yellow, small white banded head
BEHAVIOR: Hunts on the ground and leaf litter, can be found trail side
SIZE: Small - ~40-60cm
OTHER: Can bite with little indication from physical posturing
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.
Largely a reddish brown in color, though sometimes more brown with thin black vertical banding running the length of the body highlighted in white or yellow. Banding can be more distinct in juveniles. Head is relatively small with black and yellow or white banding. Yellowish white belly with black markings which it will sometimes display. Small to medium sized species reaching ~60cm in length.
Active at night and mainly hunts other snakes. Generally docile when approached they are not quick to bite but will do so if disturbed or handled. Normally slow and deliberate in their movement they are capable of moving quickly when fleeing or hunting. When startled or threatened will twitch wildly and sometimes bite, can also dart quickly under leaf litter and flatten body against the ground to hide or make it difficult for predators to pick up. If head is attacked may curl tail into a spiral and display bottom scales as a decoy tactic. Hunt near water sources and in forested areas and will eat lizards as well as other snakes. Highly venomous and any bite should be treated as life threatening.
The MacClelland's Coral Snake is a terrestrial species often hunting at night. It can be found all over Hong Kong including Hong Kong Island but is not very common. A less common encounter for most given its nocturnal nature, it is possible though very unlikely to bump into one on the trail during the day and if so they should be give a wide berth and left alone.
NO SNAKE SHOULD EVER BE HANDLED BY ANYONE BUT EXPERTS: The MacClelland's Coral Snake is not normally confused with other species given it's unique appearance. Visit the 'Practical Venomous Snake ID' section of the Snake ID page for tips on identifying some of the more common venomous species.