Snake: Found in the kitchen

Asked January 11, 2016, 10:25 AM EST

Hi! Good Day! Can anyone please help me identify what kind of snake is this? Ive been searching through web what kind of snakes that stays indoors or in gardens. I dont know maybe if it is garter snake or a python? Hoping for your answers..

Outside United States human-wildlife issues snakes lycodon capucinus common wolf snake snakes of the philippines

8 Responses

Thank you for your question. I will try to help you with an identification. Can you tell me the location where you found the snake, i.e., city/town and country. Whey your question came in to me, it just said "outside United States."

Thanks,

Jim

Hi! Jim. I found the snake in the kitchen but I'm from Tayabas City, Philippines. Can I also know if this snake is harmless?

Here is the close-up photo of the snake.

Hi,
Got your additional photos. I'm narrowing it down, and have sent your photos to a contact I have at the Smithsonian Institution. Is the snake's stomach completely white?

Nope. The color of the snake's stomach is mixed with brown and grey? Or maybe grey only. Here's some pictures of the snake's stomach..

Good news! We have an ID on your snake. I sent your photos and location to a professor at the University of Kansas, who specializes in Philippine reptiles, along with my identification. He confirmed this morning that it is a juvenile wolf snake (Lycodon capucinus).

This species is found across southern China, southward through the Malay peninsula and Indochina to the Philippines. It occurs in lowland tropical forests, especially disturbed areas like cultivated areas, villages and urban areas. In some countries the wolf snake is called the house snake, because it often enters homes in search of lizards. It feeds primarily on lizards, geckos and skinks. Lycodon means "wolf tooth" and refers to the enlarged front teeth the wolf snake uses to capture its prey. Skinks are notoriously difficult for some predators to catch because of their relatively hard and very smooth scales. The modified teeth of the wolf snake enables it to catch and hold on to its prey.

I found some conflicting information on whether or not this species is venomous. Most of the resources I checked say it is not. One, however, say this species has rear fangs it uses to immobilize its prey, but the venom is not considered a risk to humans. I will continue to research this and get back to you.

Jim

Woah! I feel so happy and relieve. ☺️☺️ I've never expect to have so much information. Thank you very much Jim. It helped me a lot. Thanks again. ☺️

I heard back from the professors at the University of Kansas and at the Smithsonian. The wolf snake does have venom delivered by rear fangs, but the venom usually is harmless to humans. The professor from the University of Kansas has been bitten several times by this species and never suffered any ill effects.

That being said, individuals can have varying degrees of sensitivity to compounds that are introduced into their bodies. For example, most people when stung by a honey bee (Apis mellifera) suffer some localized pain, redness and swelling, that usually goes away in a day or two. However, a small percentage of the population is highly allergic to bee venom and these people can suffer a severe allergic reaction after being stung and require emergency hospital treatment, and sometimes die as a result of the sting. So, while a wolf snake bite is generally harmless to humans, there's always a possibility that an individual could be overly sensitive to the venom and have a reaction.

Hope this helps, and thank you again for using Ask an Expert.

Jim