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The three extant Acrochordus species (the only three species included in the family Acrochordidae) exhibit differences in their ecology, scalation, and anatomy. Acrochordus granulatus, which was previously classified in a separate monotypic genus (Chersydrus), are the smallest Acrochordus (~1 m in total length). Acrochordus granulatus is also the most widely distributed species, reported from coastal northwest India to the Solomon Islands in diverse habitats, including freshwater lakes and rivers, mangroves, mudflats, reefs, and open sea (up to 10 km offshore and at depths of 20 m).

(Sanders et al. 2010 and references therein)

The blood oxygen carrying capacity of Acrochordus granulatus exceeds that of other reptiles and approaches levels characteristic of endothermic mammals and birds.  Acrochordus, especiallyA. granulatus, maintain an exceptionally large oxygen store (due to both high blood volume and high blood oxygen carrying capacities). The unusually high hematocrit in this species results in increased blood viscosity, which is is at least partially compensated for by unusually low metabolic rates and sluggish habits (Lillywhite et al. 1988). It is not clear whether the evolution of its remarkable blood oxygen carrying capacity is related to the marine habits of A. granulatus or other other ecological factors (e.g., use of calm, anoxic water bodies) (Brischoux et al. 2011)

Lillywhite et al. (2013) studying dehydration and drinking behavior in Acrochordus granulatus. Acrochordus (file snakes) dehydrate in seawater and do not drink seawater when dehydrated in air and offered seawater to drink. However, they will drink freshwater and the threshold of dehydration for first drinking response is a loss of around 7% of original body mass. Detailed studies of A. granulatus support a growing conclusion that diverse taxa of marine snakes require environmental sources of freshwater to maintain water balance, contrary to earlier belief.


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