PREVALENCE: Not Common
ACTIVE PERIOD: Active at night
KEY ID FEATURES: Black and white banding, medium contrast, small head, ~90cm long when mature
BEHAVIOR: Hunts on the ground at night, moves slow but capable of striking if handled, generally will flee
SIZE: Small - ~90cm
QUICK ASSESSMENT 0-10
Black and white banding very similar to the Many Banded Krait in appearance. Banding generally lower contrast than on the Many Banded Krait. Bands also tend to stay uniform in spacing the length of the body and can sometimes fade into dark gray or fully black. Small head with significant variation in color pattern possible. ~90cm in length when mature.
Active at night and mainly hunts small lizards. 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. Hunt on mountain slopes and foothills. Often found at higher elevations.
The Mountain Wolf Snake is a terrestrial species often hunting in forested areas at higher elevations. It can be found distributed across 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 and if so they should be give a wide berth and left alone due to similar appearance with the deadly Many Banded Krait.
NO SNAKE SHOULD EVER BE HANDLED BY ANYONE BUT EXPERTS: The Mountain Wolf Snake can be potentially confused with both the Banded and Many Banded Krait, both of which are deadly species. A Mountain Wolf Snake should never be handled or approached due to the potential for confusing species. Visit the 'Practical Venomous Snake ID' section of the Snake ID page for tips on identifying some of the more common venomous species.
IMPORTANT: Most snakes can be found to 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.
PHOTO CREDIT: Dan Rosenberg