Marley News July 2012

So file snakes are really weird compared to other snakes, because they live mostly in water!

Arafura File Snake

Not only can they hold their breath for 40 minutes, this snake can eat a whole fish (up to twice the size of its girth) in just 15 seconds.

It’s called an Arafura File Snake because its textured skin feels like a nail file! They rough skin helps it to hold its prey. Most water snakes prey on much smaller fish compared to their body size, which they latch on to with their teeth and gulp down in a few swallows, or use venom to silent their prey. Instead this snake eats the larger fish in the river, by coiling its body around the food and using its skin’s file grip so that the fish can’t get away!

This species of snake is not designed to be on land. They do swim through mangrove roots or rest on water banks, but they’d never be further away than a split second from water to easily get back to the safety of the environment they are designed for.

Mum’s friend, Stuart, a Reptile Keeper, describes the snake as being like a wet rag when it’s out of water. They’ve evolved with the buoyancy of water to support them and hence have no muscle tone to push against gravity. Mum filmed one of the Arafura File Snake being fed! Watch the video below.