Snake in Nong Khiaw, Laos.
I have been struggling to identify many species in general in Laos as it seems in depth study here is still somewhat lacking. But this guy I have struggled to even get down to a general family (Although snakes aren't my strong point). I was thinking some kind of rat snake. But not sure. It would have been around 12 inches, and not much thicker than the average pen/pencil. I saw this on a hill on a hike down a mountain in the dark not long after sunset.
Any general info is more than appreciated, and many thanks in advance.
Thank you for your question. I could not find any literature to help me identify your snake, so I sent your photographs to a professor who is an authority on Philippine snakes, hoping he had experience with Laotian species. He recommended I contact one of his colleagues who is an expert on Laotian herpetofauna. I contacted his colleague and he provided me with name of your snake. It is a White-spotted slug snake, that is also known as the Mountain slug snake. Its scientific name is Pareas margaritophorus.
It is found in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and the northern parts of peninsular Malaysia. Maximum length for this species is approximately 47 cm. As their common name suggests, they feed on slugs, but they also eat snails and earthworms. They have specialized fangs on their lower jaw that enable them to extract the snails from their shells before eating them. They are found in lowland and lower montane forest habitats to elevations of approximately 1500 meters, and they are primarily nocturnal.
Here's a link to the Ecology Asia website that provides a little more information on this species:
Hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.
Thank you for your help and effort through multiple experts to identify this snake. Its really appreciated, as well as the extra information. Definitely sounds like an interesting species.
You're welcome! Glad we could get an answer for you.