Rare snake spotted for the first time in 106 years

  • Singapore
  • Friday, 02 Oct 2020

Still around: The brown reptile with white patches was found swimming in a shallow concrete drain near the Nee Soon swamp forest. — The Straits Times/ANN

The rare Selangor mud snake, last seen here in 1914, has been rediscovered after 106 years.

The brown reptile with white patches was found swimming in a shallow concrete drain near Nee Soon swamp forest on Sept 19, said a report published on Wednesday.

The snake was previously found in a rubber plantation at Bukit Sembawang in 1914 and was later deposited in a museum in Dublin, according to the report published in the Singapore Biodiversity Records, a scientific publication hosted by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

Dennis Chan, 26, was out on a walk on Sept 19 with fellow naturalist Neo Xiao Yun, 24, looking for wildlife when they chanced across the snake at around 10pm. He took a photograph of it and left it to go on its way.

The recent rediscovery here has changed the snake’s status in Singapore from “indeterminate” to “extant” now that its existence is definitively recorded. Before this sighting, it was not clear if it still existed here.

“Regionally, this species is also quite rare, with colour photographs having been published in a research paper only in 2018, ” said Law Ing Sind, co-founder of the Herpetological Society of Singapore.

He noted that this record was scientifically significant as it reaffirmed the presence of this species in Singapore, and raised the possibility of it occurring in Peninsular Malaysia.

Little is known about the behaviour and habitat of the snake.

“I personally think Singaporeans should be elated that our small country still has a wealth of biodiversity present, ” added Law. — The Straits Times/ANN

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