Snake identification

Asked October 2, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

Hello, I am trying to identify a snake I saw today in Zhejiang province, China, while hiking in the mountains. The snake's back was mostly black but it also had some yellow notes on it and on its belly. I think it was a baby since it was very short like 30-40 cm long. The strange thing was it didn't seem to be intimidated by my presence, it just kept crawling very slowly across the path. Could that be because it is already October and it was a bit sluggish? I don't know much about snakes but its movement also seemed unusual to me. I find it difficult to describe it but it wasn't gliding gracefully like most snakes I have seen in my life but it was a little ponderous, visibly pushing from its sides making a rather broad zig zag. The closest match I have found so far is the Chinese cobra. Could anybody tell me what the most common snake in China with the above mentioned characteristics is?

Outside United States wildlife damage management reptiles herpetology

2 Responses

Thank you for your question. I am researching your question, and it is somewhat difficult as their doesn't seem to be much information available on the snakes of China. Do you happen to have a photograph you can e-mail to me? You can send it to jim_burke@ncsu.edu

Thanks,

Jim

I forwarded your description to a PhD candidate who is studying snakes in China. He said based on your description of the color and behavior, it sounds like a yellow-banded wolf snake (Dinodon flavozonatum). D. flavozonatum is a non-venomous species. It feeds on small lizards, skinks and small snakes. It is usually found in mountain and hill forests in China, Myanmar and Vietnam.

I have attached a photo that shows both a yellow and red specimen. Let me know if this looks anything like the snake you saw.

Thanks,
Jim