Rhabdophis subminiatus

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Rhabdophis subminiatus
Rhabdophis subminiatus-Red-necked keelback.jpg
Rhabdophis subminiatus
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Rhabdophis
R. subminiatus
Binomial name
Rhabdophis subminiatus
(Schlegel, 1837)

Rhabdophis subminiatus, commonly called the red-necked keelback, is a species of highly venomous snake in the family Colubridae. The species is endemic to Asia.


R. subminiatus has a greenish hue with red and yellow regions near the head. It grows to 70 to 90 cm (27.5 to 35.5 in) in total length (including tail).

Habitat and diet[edit]

The red-necked keelback generally lives near ponds, where it consumes frogs and fish.[3]

Snakebite and Venom[edit]

Rhabdophis subminiatus is a rear-fanged species and was previously thought to be harmless. However, following one fatal and several near-fatal envenomations, the toxicity of its venom was investigated. As a result, it has recently been reclassified as a dangerous species. Rear-fanged snakes need to bite and hold on, or repeatedly bite, to have any effect on humans. A chewing action facilitates envenomation as the venom ducts open to fangs that are externally grooved (not hollow) and are posterior in the oral cavity.R. subminiatus has enlarged and non-grooved teeth. R. subminiatus has two enlarged teeth in the back of the snake’s jaw. Located in the upper jaw is a gland known as the Duvernoy's glands which produces an extremely venomous secretion.[3]

Extraction of snake venom from the Red-necked keelback snake.

Symptoms caused by venom[edit]

When the snake bites, the salivary venom mixture is not injected, but it flows into the punctures produced by the upper jaw’s rear teeth of R. subminiatus, which can penetrate the skin of humans. The venom from R. subminiatus has been responsible for internal hemorrhaging, including hemorrhaging of the brain. As well as nausea, coagulopathy, and even disseminated intravascular coagulation. Also, when the venom was tested on animals, renal failure was reported. Caution should be taken when dealing with patients who have been bitten by the red-necked keelback snake. There should be no further injury such as injections because this may cause excessive bleeding in the bite victim. Although most human bites from R. subminiatus are involved with the front teeth and do not cause adverse effects, rare bites from the rear fangs can be lethal.[4]


Two subspecies are recognized as being valid, including the nominotypical subspecies.[2]

The trinomial authority in parentheses indicates that the subspecies was originally described in a genus other than Rhabdophis.


The subspecific name, helleri, is in honor of American zoologist Edmund Heller.[5]

Geographic range[edit]

The red-necked keelback can be found in the following areas of the world:[2]

The subspecies R. s. helleri can be found in the following locations:[2]


  1. ^ Wogan G, Chan-Ard T (2012). "Rhabdophis subminiatus ". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012: e.T192116A2042128. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012-1.RLTS.T192116A2042128.en. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "Rhabdophis subminiatus ". The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  3. ^ a b Ferlan I, Ferlan A, King T, Russell FE (1983). "Preliminary studies on the venom of the colubrid snake Rhabdophis subminatus (red-necked keelback)". Toxicon. 21 (4): 570–574. doi:10.1016/0041-0101(83)90137-x.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Zotz RB, Mebs D, Hirche H, Paar D (1991). "Hemostatic changes due to the venom gland extract of the red-necked keelback snake (Rhabdophis subminiatus)". Toxicon. 29 (12): 1501–1508. doi:10.1016/0041-0101(91)90006-d.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Schmidt, Karl P. (1925). "New reptiles and a new salamander from China". American Museum Novitates (157): 1-5. http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/dspace/handle/2246/9

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Boulenger GA (1893). Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Voume I., Containing the Families ... Colubridæ Aglyphæ, part. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiii + 448 pp. + Plates I-XXVIII. (Tropidonotus subminiatus, pp. 256–257).
  • Bulian J (1999). "Über die Schlangenfauna eines Gartens in Südthailand ". Elaphe 7 (4): 61-67. (in German).
  • Das I (2002). A Photographic Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of India. Sanibel Island, Florida: Ralph Curtis Books, 144 pp. ISBN 0-88359-056-5. (Rhabdophis subminiatus, p. 44).
  • Schlegel H (1837). Essai sur la physionomie des serpens. Partie Générale. xxviii + 251 pp. + Partie Descriptive. 606 + xvi pp. Amsterdam: M.H. Schonekat. (Tropidonotus subminiatus, new species, pp. 313–314 in Partie Descriptive). (in French).
  • Schmidt KP (1925). "New Reptiles and a New Salamander from China". American Museum Novitates (157): 1-5. (Natrix helleri, new species, p. 3).
  • Smith MA (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. (Natrix subminiata, pp. 302–303).