Psammophis condanarus (MERREM, 1820)

Subspecies  PAUWELS et al. (2003) state that P. c. condanarus and P. s. indochinensis can be distinguished by their microdermatoglyphic patterns which is said to be “echinate” in condanarus but “canaliculate” in indochinensis (based on F. Brandstätter’s PhD thesis of 1995).
Distribution: DOWLING & JENNER 1988 list only one species of Psammophis from Myanmar, namely Psammophis condanarus.
Psammophis condanarus indochinensis SMITH 1943 is treated here as valid species. (1)
Common Names E: Sand Snake
G: Sandrennnatter 
Synonym Coluber condanarus MERREM 1820: 107
Phayrea Isabellina THEOBALD 1868 (fide BOULENGER1890)
Psammophis condanarus — BOULENGER 1890
Leptophis bellii JERDON 1853 (fide SMITH 1943)
Psammophis indicus BEDDOME 1863 (fide SMITH 1943)
Psammophis condonarus [sic] — JERDON 1865: 417
Psammophis condanarus — FISCHER 1881: 228
Mike elegantissimus WERNER 1924
Psammophis condanarus — SMITH 1943: 364
Psammophis condernarus — CHAN-ARD et al. 1999: 182 (in error) 
Description (from Boulenger 1890)
Distribution N India (incl. Himachal Pradesh, Punjab [Dino Aulakh, pers. comm.]), Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar (1)

This species is found in Pakistan in the area of the Indus Delta and lower Punjab, and ranges throughout northern India, Nepal and southeast Asia to Viet Nam and Indonesia (McKay 2006) although it does not appear to inhabit southern Thailand (Cox 1991). It is generally found below 2,000 m above sea level.
Native: Bangladesh; Cambodia; India; Indonesia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Thailand; Viet Nam (2)

Type locality: Ganjam District

Map legend:
 - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map. (1)

This species is reported to be common (Sharma 2003, Daniel 2002). G. Zug (pers. comm.) notes that in Myanmar specifically it is widespread and moderately abundant from the central region of the country to the Ayeyarwady delta.
Though habitat degradation is occurring in portions of its range, this species is tolerant of human-affected environments and it is unlikely that this species is being impacted upon by any major threats throughout its range. (2)

In 2017 there was a sighting in South India. See the article.

Habitat and Ecology: "This species occurs in diverse habitats including moist grasslands, shrublands and woodlands, mangroves and agricultural land (Sharma 2003, McKay 2006, Schleich and Kästle 2002). It is reported to "adapt" to rural-agricultural modifications (G. Zug pers. comm.). It appears to be partially arboreal and can be found climbing trees and bushes. It is a diurnal species which shelters in the burrows of sand lizards (Khan 2006)."(2)
Types Lectotype: Russell 1796, plate 27 (1)
Comment Synonymy partly after Wallach 1988, Amphibia-Reptilia 9: 62. (1)
  • Russell,P. 1796. An account of Indian serpents collected on the coast of Coromandel, containing descriptions and drawings of each species, together with experiments and remarks on their several poisons. George Nicol, London, 90 pp.
  • Merrem, B. 1820. Versuch eines Systems der Amphibien I (Tentamen Systematis Amphibiorum). J. C. Kriegeri, Marburg, 191 pp.
  • Jerdon,T.C. 1865. Remarks on observations contained in Dr. Günther’s work on the reptiles of British India. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 15: 416-418 - get paper here
  • Theobald, WILLIAM 1868. Catalogue of reptiles in the Museum of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. J. Asiatic Soc. Bengal, Calcutta, 37 (extra number 146): (2), vi, 7-88 - get paper here
  • Fischer, J. G. 1881. Herpetologische Bemerkungen vorzugsweise über Stücke des Naturhistorischen Museums in Bremen. Abhandlungen des Naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins in Bremen, 7: 225-238 [Nov. 1881]
  • Boulenger, George A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • Wall, F. 1907. Notes on Snakes collected in Fyzabad. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 18: 101-129 - get paper here
  • Werner, F. 1924. Neue oder wenig bekannte Schlangen aus dem Naturhistorischen Staatsmuseum in Wien. l. Teil. Sitzungsb. Ber. Akad. Wiss., Wien, Abt. l, 133: 29 - 56
  • Smith, M.A. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. 3 (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London. 583 pp.
  • Taylor,E.H. 1965. The serpents of Thailand and adjacent waters. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 45 (9): 609-1096 - get paper here
  • Dowling, H.G., & Jenner, J.V. 1988. Snakes of Burma: checklist of reported species and bibliography Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (76): 19 pp. - get paper here
  • Wallach,V. 1988. Status and redescription of the genus Padangia Werner, with comparative visceral data on Collorhabdium Smedley and other genera (Serpentes: Colubridae). Amphibia-Reptilia 9: 61-76 - get paper here
  • Cox, M.J. 1991. The Snakes of Thailand and Their Husbandry. Krieger Publishing Company, Florida.
  • Zug, G.R. & Mitchell, J.C. 1995. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal. Asiatic Herpetological Research 6: 172-180 - get paper here
  • Brandstätter, Frank; Redl, Michela 1997. On the etymology of Asian snakes of the genus Psammophis (Serpentes: Colubridae) Hamadryad 22 (1): 50-53
  • CAMP Workshop. 1997. Conservation Assessment and Management Plan Workshop: Reptiles of India. Biodiversity Conservation Prioritisation Project, India. Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Coimbatore, India.
  • Cox, Merel J.; Van Dijk, Peter Paul; Jarujin Nabhitabhata & Thirakhupt,Kumthorn 1998. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Ralph Curtis Publishing, 144 pp.
  • Hughes, B. 1999. Critical review of a revision of Psammophis (Linnaeus 1758) (Serpentes, Reptilia) by Frank Brandstätter. Afr. J. Herpetol. 48 (1-2): 63-70 - get paper here
  • Chan-ard,T.; Grossmann,W.; Gumprecht,A. & Schulz,K. D. 1999. Amphibians and reptiles of peninsular Malaysia and Thailand - an illustrated checklist [bilingual English and German]. Bushmaster Publications, Würselen, Gemany, 240 pp. [book review in Russ. J Herp. 7: 87] - get paper here
  • Schleich, H.H. and Kästle, W. (eds). 2002. Amphibians and Reptiles of Nepal. A.R.G. Ganter Verlag Kommanditgesellschaft, FL 9491, Ruggell.
  • Khan, M.S. 2002. A Guide to the Snakes of Pakistan. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt.
  • Daniel, J.C. 2002. The Book of Indian Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press / Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford.
  • Pauwels, O.S.G.; David, P.; Chimsunchart, C. & Thirakhupt, K. 2003. Reptiles of Phetchaburi Province, Western Thailand: a list of species, with natural history notes, and a discussion on the biogeography at the Isthmus of Kra. Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University 3 (1): 23-53
  • Sharma, R.C. 2003. Handbook: Indian Snakes. Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata.
  • Sharma, R. C. 2004. Handbook Indian Snakes. AKHIL BOOKS, New Delhi, 292 pp.
  • Khan, M.S. 2006. Amphibians and reptiles of Pakistan. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida, USA.
  • McKay, J.L. 2006. A Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Bali. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida.
  • Saikia, U.; Sharma, D.K. & Sharma, R.M. 2007. Checklist of the Reptilian fauna of Himachal Pradesh, India. Reptile Rap (8): 6-9 - get paper here
  • ZIEGLER, THOMAS; RALF HENDRIX, VU NGOC THANH, MARTINA VOGT, BERNHARD FORSTER & DANG NGOC KIEN 2007. The diversity of a snake community in a karst forest ecosystem in the central Truong Son, Vietnam, with an identification key. Zootaxa 1493: 1-40 - get paper here
  • Cottone, Amanda M. and Aaron M. Bauer 2009. Notes on sexual size dimorphism and reproduction in the Asian Sand Snake, Psammophis condanarus (Psammophiidae) Hamadryad 34 (1): 182-185
  • IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.4). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 27 October 2010).
  • A.D. Rangarajan. Rare sand snake sighted in Seshachalam hills. The Hindu, July 30, 2017.
External links


(1) The Reptile Database
(2) iNaturalist