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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Cladus: Sarcopterygii
Cladus: Rhipidistia
Cladus: Tetrapodomorpha
Cladus: Eotetrapodiformes
Cladus: Elpistostegalia
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: Colubroidea

Familia: Colubridae
Subfamilia: Colubrinae
Genus: Oreocryptophis
Species: Oreocryptophis porphyracea
Subspecies: O. p. coxi – O. p. hainana – O. p. kawakamii – O. p. laticincta – O. p. nigrofasciata – O. p. porphyracea – O. p. pulchra – O. p. vaillanti


Oreocryptophis porphyracea (Cantor, 1839)

Type locality: India: Assam, Mishmi [Mishmee] Hills.


Coluber porphyraceus Cantor, 1839
Coronella callicephalus Gray, 1853: 390 (fide Boulenger, 1894)
Elaphe porphyracea — Van Denburgh, 1909
Ablabes porphyraceus — Boulenger, 1890
Coluber porphyraceus — Boulenger, 1894: 34
Coluber porphyraceus — Wall, 1908: 326
Elaphe porphyracea — Schulz, 1996: 196
Elaphe porphyracea — Manthey & Grossmann, 1997: 343
Oreophis porphyraceus — Utiger et al., 2002
Oreophis porphyraceus — David et al., 2004
Oreocryptophis prophyraceus — Utiger et al., 2005 (nom. nov.)
Oreocryptophis prophyraceus — Ziegler et al., 2007
Oreophis porphyraceus — Mattison, 2007: 247


Cantor, T.E. 1839: Spicilegium serpentium indicorum [part 1]. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1839: 31–34.
Utiger, U.; Schatti, B. & Helfenberger, N. 2005: The oriental colubrine genus Coelognathus FITZINGER, 1843 and classification of old and new world racers and ratsnakes (Reptilia, Squamata, Colubridae, Colubrinae). Russ. J. Herpetol. 12 (1): 39–60.
Ziegler, Thomas; Ralf Hendrix, Vu Ngoc Thanh, Martina Vogt, Bernhard Forster & Dang Ngoc Kien 2007: The diversity of a snake community in a karst forest ecosystem in the central Truong Son, Vietnam, with an identification key. Zootaxa 1493: 1–40.
Oreocryptophis porphyraceus at the New Reptile Database. Accessed on 01 oct 2008.

Vernacular names
English: Black-banded Trinket Snake,
Red Bamboo Snake

Oreocryptophis porphyraceus is a rat snake species, commonly called the black-banded trinket snake, red bamboo snake,[1] Thai bamboo rat snake or red mountain racer, found in mid to upper-level elevations of forested hills in southeastern Asia, ranging from evergreen tropical to dry seasonal forests depending on the subspecies and locality. It is the only member of the genus Oreocryptophis,[2] but it was formerly placed in Elaphe.[1]


The head is small, sharp and squarish, while the color pattern includes red or orange colors, along with black bands or stripes. A terrestrial species, it has a preference for cool climates that restricts its habitat to hills and mountain plateaus. It is known to be crepuscular, active during the late evenings till night and dawn till late mornings. In captivity, it is one of the most sought-after rat snake species.

India (Darjeeling, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh (Miao, Namdapha - Changlang district, Itanagar - Papum Pare district), Myanmar, Bhutan, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal, South China (Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, Hong Kong, Hainan, northward to Henan and Gansu; south to Wei He river), Taiwan, West Malaysia (Cameron Highlands, Pahang), Indonesia (Sumatra). The type locality given is "India: Assam, Mishmi [Mishmee] Hills." It is also reported from Lowachhara National Park of North-eastern Bangladesh[3]

These rat snakes thrive under cool and very humid conditions. On many occasions they are found at altitudes exceeding 800 meters in evergreen moist rainforest or monsoon forests, depending on the subspecies and locality. They spend most of the time hiding in leaf litter, under moss carpets, or under rocks and logs.

The diet consists primarily of rodents and other small mammals in the wild. Frogs are a possibility. In captivity, mice are accepted readily.
Subspecies Geographic range
O. p. porphyraceus Bhutan; India; Laos; Myanmar; Nepal; China, Thailand, Vietnam
O. p. coxi NW Thailand
O. p. kawakamii Taiwan
O. p. laticinctus Indonesia, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra
O. p. vaillanti China, Vietnam
O. p. pulcher China

Oreocryptophis porphyraceus at the Reptile Database. Accessed 22 June 2020.
Oreocryptophis at the Reptile Database. Accessed 22 June 2020.

Boulenger, George A. 1890 The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp.
Cantor, T. E. 1839 Spicilegium serpentium indicorum [parts 1 and 2]. Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 7: 31-34, 49-55.
Das, I. 1999 Biogeography of the amphibians and reptiles of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. In: Ota, H. (ed) Tropical Island herpetofauna.., Elsevier, pp. 43–77
Gray, J. E. 1853 Descriptions of some undescribed species of reptiles collected by Dr. Joseph Hooker in the Khassia Mountains, East Bengal, and Sikkim Himalaya. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (2) 12: 386 - 392
Grossmann, Wolfgang and Klaus Dieter Schulz. 2000 Elaphe porphyracea laticincta Schulz & Helfenberger. Sauria 22 (2):2
Gumprecht, A. 2003 Anmerkungen zu den Chinesischen Kletternattern der Gattung Elaphe (sensu lato) Fitzinger 1833. Reptilia (Münster) 8 (6): 37-41
Lenk, P.; Joger, U. & Wink, M. 2001 Phylogenetic relationships among European ratsnakes of the genus Elaphe Fitzinger based on mitochondrial DNA sequence comparisons. Amphibia-Reptilia 22 (3): 329-339
Schulz, Klaus-Dieter 1996 A monograph of the colubrid snakes of the genus Elaphe Fitzinger. Koeltz Scientific Books, 439 pp.
Schulz, Klaus-Dieter (Ed.) 2013 Old World Ratsnakes. A Collection of Papers. Bushmaster Publishing, 432 pp.
Utiger, Urs, Notker Helfenberger, Beat Schätti, Catherine Schmidt, Markus Ruf and Vincent Ziswiler 2002 Molecular systematics and phylogeny of Old World and New World ratsnakes, Elaphe Auct., and related genera (Reptilia, Squamata, Colubridae). Russ. J. Herpetol. 9 (2): 105-124.


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