Singapore Biodiversity Records: The Curious Incident of the Snake in the Hostel Shoe Cupboard

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) student Chua Wei Ming returned to his hostel one day to find an unlikely squatter in the from of a snake in his shoe cupboard.

Keel-bellied whipsnake by Chua Wei Ming

Keel-bellied whip snake (Dryophiops rubescens). Photo by: Chua Wei Ming

Pictures of the scaly squatter eventually made its way to Facebook, with a note crowd sourcing the identity of the snake. The images shared by a mutual friend immediately caught my eye as the brown streaks on the head and its distinctively patterned body revealed it to be a nationally critically endangered keel-bellied whip snake (Dryophiops rubescens). This was a rarely encountered snake in a locality that it was hitherto not known to exist – a veritable new locality record.

We are thankful that Wei Ming, through his friend, Abigail Abraham, kindly agreed to write up the record for publication. The snake was eventually relocated to an adjacent forested area.

Share your observations of interesting behaviour or uncommon species in Singapore with us via Singapore Biodiversity Records! It would help spread the knowledge and increase our understanding of biodiversity in Singapore. This and four other new Singapore Biodiversity Records have just been uploaded:

40. Hardwicke’s woolly bat at Lower Peirce forest. [pdf]
41. Striped tree skink at Dairy Farm Nature Park. [pdf]
42. Frilly gecko at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. [pdf]
43. Elegant bronzeback at MacRitchie forest. [pdf]
44. Keel-bellied whip snake at NTU Jurong Campus. [pdf]

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