Snake identification

Asked August 2, 2019, 10:53 PM EDT

What snake genera or species has very pronounced occipital scales. I’m trying to identify a cast model of a snake. I’ve looked into the families colubridea and elapidea with little luck. The only snake I’m aware of with this feature is the king cobra but the cast replica does not match the rest of the king cobra’s scalation.

California

7 Responses

Thank you for your question. Can you send me a photo of the side of snake's head and the underside of the head?

Thanks,

Jim

The snake is cast from a real specimen, however the coloration, as far as I’m aware, does not reflect the actual animal. Hence why there are multiple paint jobs to the model. Unfortunately I am away from the model so the images provided are not mine but they all represent the same cast even though the colorations differ.

Thanks for the additional photos. I believe this is a king cobra, but, you are right, the scalation is not exactly right. It looks like the interparietal scale is missing between the parietals and the occipitals. I'm going to send your photographs to a herpetologist at the Smithsonian to get his opinion.

Jim

Great, thank you.

I heard back from my Smithsonian contact. Other than the coloration that's been painted on the model, he said the interparietal scale is more often absent on individuals than present. The occipitals would be the two scales outlined in black on the attached photo.

Jim

Thank you for the insight. So is it reasonable to conclude that this model is representing a King Cobra?

Yes, that is correct. You can Google king cobra coloration variation and see some photographs of different patterns common with this species.

I hope this information helps, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim