Chinese water snake

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Chinese water snake
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Homalopsidae
Genus: Enhydris
E. chinensis
Binomial name
Enhydris chinensis
(Gray, 1842)
  • Hypsirhina chinensis
    Gray, 1842
  • Enhydris chinensis
    M.A. Smith, 1943
  • Myrrophis chinensis
    Kumar et al., 2012[2]

The Chinese water snake, Chinese smooth water snake, Chinese mud snake or Chinese rice paddy snake (Enhydris chinensis or Myrrophis chinensis) is a species of mildly venomous, rear-fanged snake, endemic to Asia.

Geographic range[edit]

Enhydris chinensis is found in China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.[2]


As the common name suggests, the Chinese water snake is a highly aquatic species, adapting well to human-altered environments such as fish pools and rice paddies.[1]

Conservation status[edit]

Enhydris chinensis is considered common,[1] although it has declined in Taiwan and is protected there.[3]


Enhydris chinensis is a relatively small snake reaching total length (including tail) of up to 80 cm (31 in).[3]


The Chinese water snake typically feeds on fish and amphibians.[3]

Commercial use[edit]

Enhydris chinensis are harvested for food and skins, but this is not considered to be threatening its populations.[1]

Medicinal use[edit]

Enhydris chinensis is used in folk medicine.[4] It is commonly used in the production of Chinese snake oil.


  1. ^ a b c d Murphy, J. (2010). "Enhydris chinensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2010: e.T176674A7281615. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T176674A7281615.en.
  2. ^ a b Myrrophis chinensis at the Reptile Database. Accessed 7 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Breuer, Hans; Murphy, William Christopher (2009–2010). "Enhydris chinensis". Snakes of Taiwan. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  4. ^ 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. S2CID 42500066.

Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger, G. A. (1896). Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume III., Containing the Colubridæ (Opisthoglyphæ and Proteroglyphæ), ... London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiv + 727 pp. + Plates I-XXV. (Hypsirhina chinensis, pp. 8–9 + Plate I, Figures 2 & 2a).
  • Brands, S. J. (comp.) (1989-2006). Systema Naturae 2000. The Taxonomicon. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Universal Taxonomic Services.
  • Gray, J. E. (1842). Monographic Synopsis of the Water Snakes, or the Family HYDRIDÆ. Zoological Miscellany 1842: 59–68. (Hypsirhina chinensis, new species, p. 66).
  • Günther, A. C. L. G. (1864). The Reptiles of British India. London: The Ray Society. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xxvii + 452 pp. + Plates I-XXVI. (Hypsirhina chinensis, p. 283).
  • Kumar, A. B.; Sanders, K. L.; George, S.; Murphy, J. C. (2012). The status of Eurostus dussumieri and Hypsirhina chinensis (Reptilia, Squamata, Serpentes): with comments on the origin of salt tolerance in homalopsid snakes. Systematics and Biodiversity 10 (4): 479–489. (Myrrophis chinensis, new combination).
  • Smith, M. A. (1943). The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-region. Reptilia and Amphibia. Vol. III.—Serpentes. London: Secretary of State for India. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xii + 583 pp. (Enhydris chinensis, p. 387).