Chinese water snake

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Chinese water snake
Myrrophis chinensis (GRAY, 1842).jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Homalopsidae
Genus: Enhydris
Species: 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]

M. 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]

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


Myrrophis 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]

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

Medicinal use[edit]

Myrrophis chinensis is used in folk medicine.[4] 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.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d Murphy, J. (2010). "Enhydris chinensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  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. 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. 

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).