Acrochordus granulatus   (Schneider,  1799) (Marine Snake)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Reptilia

Image copyrights: David Behrens

Size: Body length ranges from 0.6 to 2.43 m

Little file snakes are non-venomous. They are considerably smaller than other members of the genus Acrochordus, but have the most striking appearance of any Acrochordus species. Little file snakes are typically brownish-gray, with white or yellow stripes. Average body mass ranges from 69 to 191 g, and body length ranges from 0.6 to 2.43 m. Little file snakes have a number of features that aid in swimming and in deterring predators. All snakes in the genus Acrochordus have flat tails and loose skin that allows them to flatten out, resembling highly venomous sea snakes. Little file snakes have triangular bodies and raised scales, for which the common name "file snake" was given. They have about 100 roughly-textured scales, which allows them to grip and constrict their prey. In addition, these snakes are covered both dorsally and ventrally by tubercles, which allow them to quickly grasp onto plants and rocks, preventing them from being carried away by currents, and helping them to hold onto prey. Little file snakes also have nostrils located on the top of the head, which allows them to breathe without raising their head completely out of the water. Unlike land snakes, the lungs of file snakes extend throughout their body, so that they are able to stay submerged in water for hours without coming up for air.

File snakes are sexually dimorphic. Females are typically larger than males, with a larger head and longer and heavier body. These larger body proportions help to support the reproductive processes. Average snout to vent length (SVL) in adult females is 686.2 mm, whereas average SVL in males is 648.6 mm. Body weight averages 168.5 g for females and 104 g for males. Females have an average head length of 19.57 mm and an average head width 13.2 mm. Males have an average head length of 17.8 mm and an average head width 11.11 mm.

Habitat: Like other species in the genus Acrochordus, little file snakes are fully aquatic. Unlike Javan wart snakes and Arafura snakes, which are strictly freshwater species, little file snakes can tolerate a broad range salinities, from salt to freshwater. Little file snakes have been found at depths ranging from 4 to 20 m, but generally prefer shallow water habitats because they must surface often for air. File snakes can stay completely submerged for hours at a time while hunting for prey and can withstand both slow and fast-moving currents.

Lifespan: In captivity- 3 to 5 years

Synonym (s)
Chersydrus granulatus Schneider, 1799

Common Name (s)
• Elephant Trunk Snake (English)
• File Snake (English)
• Wart Snake (English)
• Granulated File Snake (English)
• Little File Snake (English)
• File Sea Snake
• Indian Wart Snake
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Humans hunt little file snakes for their meat and for trade on the aquaria market. Occasionally, they are also captured for their skin, which can be used as a substitute for leather to make handbags, shoes, wallets and a number of other items.)

Habitat:  Estuarine, Coastal
Prey:  File snakes are piscivores and their diet primarily consists of small fish, snails, and small crustaceans. More specifically, little file snakes prey heavily on sleeper fish and gobies.
Predator:  Major predators of little file snakes include humans, which hut them for their meat, crocodiles, and sea eagles.
IUCN Status:  Least Concern



Literature Source(s)
  • (2001) Sanctuary Asia natural history species: Species checklist: Reptiles Sanctuary Asia Sanctuary Magazine Available at -
  • Tikader, BK and Das, AK (1985) Glimpses of animal life of Andaman and Nicobar Islands ZSI, Kolkata 1-170 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Molur, S and Walker, S (1998) Reptiles of India. Report summary 1998 Zoos' Print Journal Zoo Outreach Organisation, Coimbatore 13(7) 1 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Myers, P; Espinosa, R; Parr, CS; Jones, T; Hammond, GS and Dewey, TA (2006) Animal diversity web Available at -
  • Padmanaban, P; Venkatraman, C; Palot, MJ and Radhakrishnan, C. A checklist of Sea Snakes (Reptilia) of India Zoological Survey of India Available at -
  • Myers, P; Espinosa, R; Parr, CS; Jones, T; Hammond, GS and Dewey, TA (2006) Animal diversity web Available at -

Page last updated on:2012-11-14

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