Lycodon aulicus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common Wolf Snake (non-venomous)

Common Wolf Snake

Description: A medium-sized slender-bodied snake, up to 75 cm in total length. Light or dark greyish-brown above, with a dense reticulation of white or yellowish-white throughout the body. Scales smooth. Head flat and spatulate, chocolate-brown above. A white patch on each side of nect, the two forming an incomplete collar. A white streak along upper labials. Ventrals iridescent, pearly white. Tail rather short, slender and pointed.

Habits and habitat: Occurs in dry hilly areas, usually grassland or shrubland; also occasionally on edges of cultivated fields and catehwaters. Sometimes enters houses in search of geckoes. Strictly nocturnal. Sometimes found under objects during the day. Normally slow-moving, but can be swift when aroused. When threatened, may lunge forward, strike and bite. A good climber, making use of surface irregularities to climb high walls.

Diet: In captivity feeds well on lizards, particularly geckoes and skinks. Kills by constriction and swallows prey head first.

Reproduction: Oviparous. Lays 3-11 eggs, each measuring 2-3 cm long by 1 cm wide. Hatchlings about 15 cm long.

Distribution: Not common, but widely distributed at low elevations throughout Hong Kong including several small islands (Cheung Chau, Po Toi, Shek Kwu Chau and Stonecutters). Ranges widely across southern China, South and Southeast Asia to Indonesia.

Diagnostic features: General brown colour; with white reticulated pattern over entire body, head chocolate-brown above; a partial white collar on neck.