This is a lowland, highly aquatic snake that typically occurs between sea level and 200 m but reaches 900-1,100 m in Viet Nam.
Distribution: S China (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Hainan), N Vietnam
Type locality: China
Habitat and Ecology
- UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
Life History and Behavior
Lifespan, longevity, and ageing
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Chinese water snake
The Chinese water snake or Chinese smooth water snake (Enhydris chinensis) is a species of snake found in China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. As the common name suggests, it is a highly aquatic species, adapting well to human-altered environments such as fish pools and rice paddies. It is considered common, although it has declined in Taiwan and is protected there. Enhydris chinensis is a relatively small snake reaching total length up to 80 cm (31 in). It typically feeds on fish and amphibians.
Enhydris chinensis are harvested for food and skins, but this is not considered to be threatening its populations.
Enhydris chinensis is used in folk medicine. It is commonly used in the production of Chinese snake oil. It is known for treating ailments such as fever, joint pain, and headache. It is typically ingested to gain the medicinal effects.
- Murphy, J. (2010). "Enhydris chinensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Hans Breuer & William Christopher Murphy (2009-2010). "Enhydris chinensis". Snakes of Taiwan. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Nóbrega Alves, R. R.; Silva Vieira, W. L.; Santana, G. G. (2008). "Reptiles used in traditional folk medicine: Conservation implications". Biodiversity and Conservation 17 (8): 2037–2049. doi:10.1007/s10531-007-9305-0.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-2006. Systema Naturae 2000. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Names and Taxonomy
This snake is now in the genus Myrrophis. Kumar et al (2012) removed it from the genus Enhydris based on a molecular investigation and erected the genus Myrrophis for this species and its sister species, M. bennettii.
- Kumar, A. B., K. L. Sanders, S. George, J.C .Murphy. 2012, The status of Eurostus dussumierii and Hypsirhina chinensis (Reptilia, Squamata, Serpentes): with comments on the origin of salt tolerance in homalopsid snakes. Systematics and Biodiversity 10:479-489.