Cylindrophis ruffus (Laurenti, 1768)
Red-tailed Pipe Snake 紅尾管蛇

Cylindrophis ruffus
* Photos taken from Malaysia
Squamata 有鱗目
Serpentes 蛇亞目
Family Uropeltidae 盾尾蛇科
Genus Cylindrophis 管蛇屬
Species Cylindrophis ruffus
Other name -
Chinese name -
Total length Maximum 90 cm. Tail length about 17 cm.

Back uniformly dark brown. Entire body cylindrical. Young snakes with white markings on flank, which fade with age.
Head spatulated, not distinct from neck, with round snout.
Underside of body black, with whitish crossbars, which extends slightly onto the sides. Underside of tail orange red.
Tail short, as thick as the head, fairly pointed.
Dorsal and ventral scales small and with similar size, the ventral only slightly larger.
Scales smooth and iridescent.


Inhabit moist forest and agricultural soil. A good swimmer. May frequent swamps, rice fields, drainage ditches; also in brackish water.

Behaviour Nocturnal. Fossorial, tunnelling through damp soil or resting with coiled body under rocks or rotten debris.
When disturbed, conceals its head among the body coil, flattens the tail and arches it upward to display its red pattern.
This is understood to be a warning display mimicking that of Coral Snake such as Sinomicrurus macclellandi.
Diet Fishes, particularly eels, frogs and small snakes. Kills by constriction.
Reproduction Viviparous, bearing up to 12 youngs. 17 cm at birth.
Distribution This species was previously considered not to occur in China or Hong Kong, as its main distribution is Southeast Asia.
However, two specimens were recorded around Xiamen in Fujian Province in 1960s.
Also, two young specimens were located in museums: one from Hainan and one from Hong Kong. Both were collected in the mid-1880s.
The Hong Kong specimen has not field data.
This local record may be valid as this snake is confirmed to occur in southern China.
This snake may probably occur in very few remaining local freshwater wetland.
Range from Southeast Asia and Indonesia, and China.
Conservation Status IUCN Redlist: NE (Not Evaluated)
Cylindrophis ruffus Cylindrophis ruffus
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