Florida's Exotic Wildlife. Species detail.
First year: 1970s
Established status: Species have
populations whose status is unknown.
Estimated Florida range: 1
county Not reported breeding
Statewide trend: Unknown
Threats to natives: Preys on fish
and possibly frogs.
Species Account: This species is
native to coastal areas of India, the Malay Archipelago, Southeast
Asia, and the Indonesian islands west of Australia, where it
inhabits tropical coasts, sluggish streams, and freshwater and
brackish swamps (Trutnau 1986). Dorsal coloration is brown, and the
sides and belly are pale yellow. Juveniles have irregular,
longitudinal blotches. The loose, baggy skin is covered with small
rough scales that do not overlap and have a sharp, triangular
ridge. Both dorsal and ventral scales have the same size and shape.
The flat, broad head is approximately the same diameter as the
body, and the valved nostrils are situated on top of the head. File
snakes are almost totally aquatic and can stay submerged for over
40 minutes (Trutnau, 1986). Juveniles, however, are
semi-terrestrial until they develop the baggy skin. When swimming,
the loose skin causes the thick body to flatten vertically. It
typically hides in burrows in river banks or under debris during
the daytime, emerging at night to forage for fishes and frogs, or
to ambush prey while anchored by its short, prehensile tail.
Females are sexually mature at 114-130 cm (45-51 in) snout-vent
length (SVL) and 2000 g (4.4 lb), whereas males mature at 100 cm
(39 in) SVL and 900 g (2.0 lb) (Shine et al. 1995). In Sumatra, the
mean SVL for adult males is 118 cm (46 in) and for females is 135
cm (53 in). In Sumatra, females typically give birth around
December to an average of 29.3 (range = 13-52) young, which measure
28-36 cm (11-14 in) SVL (Shine et al. 1995).
|Not reported breeding
||Specimens were occasionally captured or observed in a rock pit
northwest of Miami from the late 1970s until ca. 1990 (J. A.
Wasilewski, Natural Selections, Homestead, personal communication);
1 seen floating dead in ca. 1998 (B. Vath, personal communication);
population was presumably reproducing but may now be
Shine, R., P. Harlow, J. S. Keogh, and Boeadi.
1995. Biology and commercial utilization of acrochordid snakes,
with special reference to karung (Acrochordus javanicus). J ournal
of Herpetology 29:352-360.
Trutnau, L. 1986. Nonvenomous snakes. Barron's
Educational Series, Hauppauge, New York. 191pp.
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