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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Serpentes
Infraordo: Caenophidia
Superfamilia: Acrochordoidea

Familia: Acrochordidae
Genus: Acrochordus
Species: Acrochordus javanicus

Acrochordus javanicus Hornstedt, 1787: 307

Holotype: NRM 7263, collected by C.F. Hornstedt between 1702–1785. [lost fide Erik Åhlander, pers. comm.]
Type locality: “Java”.

Primary references

Hornstedt, C.F. 1787. Beskrifning på en Ny Orm från Java. Kungliga Svenska Vetenskaps-Akadamiens Handlingar 8: 306–308. BHL Reference page.

Additional references

McDiarmid RW, Campbell JA, Touré T. 1999. Snake Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, vol. 1. Herpetologists' League. 511 pp. ISBN 1-893777-00-6 (series). ISBN 1-893777-01-4 (volume).


Uetz, P. & Hallermann, J. 2021. Acrochordus javanicus. The Reptile Database. Accessed on 19 August 2020.
Sanders, K., Grismer, L. & Chan-Ard, T. 2012. IUCN: Acrochordus javanicus (Least Concern). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T176718A1443749. DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012-1.RLTS.T176718A1443749.en

Vernacular names
English: Javan File Snake
ไทย: งูงวงช้าง

Acrochordus javanicus, commonly known as the elephant trunk snake or the Javan file snake, is a species of snake in the family Acrochordidae, a family which represents a group of primitive non-venomous aquatic snakes. The species is also kept as an exotic pet.


Acrochordus javanicus possesses a wide and flat head, and its nostrils are situated on the top of the snout. Those head particularities confer to A. javanicus a certain resemblance with boas. However, its head is only as wide as its body. Females are bigger than males, and the maximum total length (including tail) of an individual is 2.4 m (94 in). The dorsal side of the snake's body is brown, and its ventral side is pale yellow.[2]

The skin is baggy and loose[3] giving the impression that it is too big for the animal. The skin is covered with small rough adjacent scales. The skin is also used in the tannery industry.[1][2]

The top of the head has no large shields, but instead is covered with very small granular scales. There are no ventral scales. The body scales are in about 120 rows around the body. The body is stout, and the tail is short and prehensile.[4]

A. javanicus is fully adapted to live underwater so much that its body cannot support its weight out of water and leaving the water can cause it serious injury.[citation needed]

An aquatic snake, A. javanicus is ovoviviparous, with the incubation lasting 5 to 6 months and the female expelling 6 to 17 young.[1]
Geographic range

Acrochordus javanicus is found in South-East Asia west of the Wallace Line:[1] southern Thailand, the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo (Kalimantan, Sarawak), a number of Indonesian islands (Java, Sumatra, and (possibly) Bali);[1][5] possibly also in Cambodia[6] and Vietnam,[5][6] although the last is discredited by the IUCN.[1]

Acrochordus javanicus has a coastal living habitat like rivers, estuaries and lagoons. But it prefers freshwater and brackish environments.[2]

Acrochordus javanicus is an ambush predator that preys on fishes and amphibians. It usually catches its prey by folding its body firmly around the prey. Its loose, baggy skin and its sharp scales find their utility by limiting any risk of escape of the prey, in particular fishes which have bodies covered with a viscous, protective mucus.[2]

Acrochordus javanicus is nocturnal. It spends most of its life under water and rarely goes on land. It can stay under water for up to 40 minutes.[2]
Original publication

Hornstedt CF (1787). "Beskrifning på en Ny Orm från Java ". Kongl. Vetenskaps Akademiens Handlingar 4: 306-308 + Plate XII. (Acrochordus javanicus, new species). (in Latin and Swedish).


Sanders K, Grismer L, Chan-Ard T (2012). "Acrochordus javanicus ". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012: e.T176718A1443749. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012-1.RLTS.T176718A1443749.en.
Chiu K (1999). "Acrochordus javanicus Javan File Snake, Elephant Trunk Snake". Animal Diversity Web.
Durso, Andrew (30 August 2014). "Filesnakes, Wartsnakes, or Elephant Trunksnakes". Life is Short, but Snakes are Long. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
Boulenger GA (1893). Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History). Volume I., Containing the Families Typhlopidæ, Glauconiidæ, Boidæ, Ilysiidæ, Uropeltidæ, Xenopeltidæ, and Colubridæ Aglyphæ, part. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). xiii + 448 pp. + Plates I-XXVIII. (Genus Acrochordus and species A. javanicus, p. 173).
Wallach, Van; Williams, Kenneth L.; Boundy, Jeff (22 April 2014). Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. CRC Press. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-1-4822-0848-1.

Acrochordus javanicus at the Reptile Database. Accessed 27 February 2016.

External links
Javan Filesnakes at Life is Short but Snakes are Long

Further reading

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. (Acrochordus javanicus, pp. 132–134, Figure 43).

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