Homalopsis buccata

Homalopsis buccata

Puff-faced water snake, Masked water snake

Homalopsis buccata

Homalopsis buccata (puff-faced water snake or masked water snake) is a species of mildly venomous snake in the Homalopsidae family found in tropical areas of Southeast Asia.


Upper labials 1–4 contact single loreal; two prefrontals; 33–40 dorsal scale rows at mid-body, usually reduced to fewer than 30 posteriorly; one postocular plus a postsubocular; 12 (11–14) upper labials; ventral count fewer than 166. Homalopsis hardwickii has a divided loreal; H. nigroventralis has upper labials 1–3 contacting the loreal; H. semizonata has a divided or fragmented loreal contacting upper labials 1–4 or 1–5 and three prefrontals; H. mereljcoxi, has a single loreal contacting upper labials 1–4, scale rows at mid-body 40–47, reduced to 30 or more posteriorly. This snake has banded pattern and usually reach 1 meter (3 feet) in length. They have somewhat similar body build with anaconda, but doesn't use constriction to subdue their prey, they use their mild venom to subdue their prey through their grooved rear fang.



Homalopsis buccata ranges from northern Sumatra to Salanga Island, Indonesia and Borneo; it is present on the Malaysian peninsula and in extreme southern Thailand (vicinity of Pattani).

Diet and Nutrition

Prey items are said to include: tilapia, guppy, catfish, Asian swamp eel, various other small fish, a variety of frogs, freshwater crustaceans.

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In captivity, the species feeds readily on minnows, goldfish, various cichlid fish, tilapia, Mollies (Poecilia), and tadpoles.

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Mating Habits

Homalopsis buccata are ovoviviparous, meaning they do not lay eggs, but rather give birth to live young. Female gives birth to 2-20 live young, with an average of 9.26 young per breeding. Studies have not shown this species breeds year round, with a peak season of October–March, though no distinctive breeding season was found, with young being born throughout the year.


1. Homalopsis buccata Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homalopsis_buccata
2. Homalopsis buccata on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/176682/7283049

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