Taiwan Beauty Snake


ORDER: Squamata

FAMILY: Colubridae

GENUS: Orthriophis

SPECIES: taeniurus friesei

DESCRIPTION:
Color variable, usually light and dark shades of brown and yellow. Anterior part of the snake is patterned with splotches and banding while the tail has just stripes.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Forests of Taiwan.

DIET:
Carnivorous. Eats mostly rodents and birds. Kills its prey by constriction.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Oviparous. Lays 4 to 5 white eggs. Incubation lasts approximately 70 to 75 days.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
Rat snakes defend themselves vigorously when threatened by drawing the forepart of the body into an impressive "S" loop and rapidly vibrating the tail. Ratsnakes are good tree climbers; keels on their scutes aid in climbing.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
The genus Orthriophis consists of a loosely-associated group of large, powerful constrictors known as "rat snakes." Rat snakes are found over much of North America, Europe and Asia. These colorful, normally large serpents are significant predators within their natural environments. Orthriopis taeniurus, the well-known "beauty snake" is widely distributed through out China, Burma, Laos, and Assam. (O. t. friesei is considered a subspecies.) These colorful snakes probably owe their wide distribution to the fact that they are often kept in houses as a means of rodent control. It is one of the most commonly bred snakes in Europe and U.S. breeders are rapidly raising more of this species, as the snake matures quickly, breeds readily, and is generally docile.

OUR ANIMALS:
The Taiwan Beauty Snake can be found in the Tropical Rainforest.

STATUS IN WILD:
Not considered endangered. Its status has not yet been evaluated by the IUCN.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Martin, Kristi. "Reptiles of Oakland Zoo" talk given January 23, 1999.
  2. Mehrtens, John. 1987. Living Snakes of the World. Sterling, Publishing, NY, pp. 83, 106.
  3. Schulz and Scheidt. 1992. "An Introduction to the Indonesian Rat Snakes of the Genus Elaphe" in The Vivarium, Vol. 4, No. 2.