Rhinoceros ratsnake

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Rhinoceros ratsnake
Rhynchophis boulengeri head (edited).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Subclass: Diapsida
Infraclass: Lepidosauromorpha
Superorder: Lepidosauria
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Subfamily: Colubrinae
Genus: Gonyosoma
Species: G. boulengeri
Binomial name
Gonyosoma boulengeri
Mocquard, 1897
  • Rhynchophis boulengeri
    Mocquard, 1897
  • Proboscidophis versicolor Fan, 1931
  • Rhynchophis boulengeri
    M.A. Smith, 1943[2]

The rhinoceros ratsnake (Gonyosoma boulengeri), also known as rhinoceros snake, rhino rat snake, and Vietnamese longnose snake,[3] is a species of nonvenomous ratsnake found from northern Vietnam to southern China. It has a prominent, distinctive, scaled protrusion on the front of its snout, which has led to its common naming after a rhinoceros.[4]


The specific name, boulengeri, is in honor of Belgian-British biologist George Albert Boulenger.[5][6][7]

Geographic range[edit]

R. boulengeri is found in northern Vietnam including Tam Dao,[8] and in southern China.[9] During a 2001 survey, 10 specimens observed in Yên Bái Province, northern Vietnam.[10]


Rhinoceros ratsnake showing full body coils

Adult size of this snake is 100–160 cm (39–63 in) in total length (including tail). Its scale count includes 19 rows of dorsals at midbody.[9]

Natural history[edit]

Rhinoceros ratsnakes inhabit subtropical rainforests at elevations between 300 and 1,100 m (980 and 3,610 ft), particularly valleys with streams. They are generally arboreal, and mostly nocturnal, hunting small mice and other rodents, birds, and perhaps other vertebrate prey. Oviparous, its mating season from April to May may produce five to 10 eggs in a clutch. After 60 days' incubation, hatchlings are 30–35 cm (12–14 in) total length, brownish grey with dark edges on several dorsal scales. As they mature, rhinoceros ratsnakes change color to steel grey at about 12–14 months, then to a bluish green or green adult hue at about 24 months. However, a rare few individuals maintain their steel grey subadult color and do not pass into ordinarily mature color phase.[8]


Rhinoceros ratsnake, dorsal view
  1. ^ Rao, D.-q. & Lau, M. (2012). "Rhynchophis boulengeri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  2. ^ The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org.
  3. ^ Rhynchophis boulengeri (Vietnamese Longnose Snake). Zipcodezoo.com. Retrieved on 2013-01-03.
  4. ^ Rhino Ratsnake, Rhynchophis boulengeri (MOCQUARD, 1897). Ratsnakefoundation.org. Retrieved on 2013-01-03.
  5. ^ "Rhynchophis boulengeri, Vietnamese Longnose Snake". Ratsnake Foundation. D.A. Boulenger[sic], almost certainly meaning George Albert Boulenger. 
  6. ^ Rhynchophis boulengeri MOCQUARD, 1897. reptile-database.reptarium.cz
  7. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Rhynchophis boulengeri, p. 34).
  8. ^ a b Rhynchophis boulengeri. www.schlangenland.de. Retrieved on 2013-01-03.
  9. ^ a b Rhynchophis boulengeri – Rhino Ratsnake. Ratsnakefoundation.org. Retrieved on 2013-01-03.
  10. ^ Tordoff et al. (May 2001). A Rapid Biodiversity Survey of Che Tao Commune, Mu Cang Chai District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam, Hanoi, note those of its reported species which have IUCN Redlist status, and have no such notes for Rhynchophis boulengeri which was observed in this report.

Further reading[edit]

  • Brachtel, Norbert. 1998. "Das Portrait: Rhynchophis boulengeri (Mocquard, 1897)". Sauria, Berlin 20 (1): 2. (in German).
  • Mocquard F. 1897. "Notes herpétologiques". Bulletin du Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, Series 1, 3 (6): 211-217. (Rhynchophis boulengeri, new species, p. 215). (in French).
  • Orlov, Nikolai et al. 1999. "Eine seltene Natter aus Nordvietnam, Rhynchophis boulengeri (Mocquard, 1897)". Sauria, Berlin 20 (1): 3–8. (in German).

External links[edit]

  • Captive care of Rhino ratsnakes (Rhynchophis boulengeri) from Adam Wilford of AC Snakes, United Kingdom [1].
  • Sacha Korell's Natural Elaphe Collection image gallery for Vietnamese Longnose Snake (Rhynchophis boulengeri) [2].
  • Image: "A rare rhino rat snake (Rhynchophis boulengeri) emerges from its shell at ZSL London Zoo". Telegraph.co.uk [3].