Behavior and Habitat of File Snakes Family Acrochordidae

Alternatively known as wart snakes or elephant-trunk snake, the file snake has earned these names because of its loose folds of baggy skin and tiny scales that make its skin appear rough. The rough-looking texture is similar to that of a file, thus leading to its common name ‘file snake.’ The scientific name Acrochordidae is rarely used when referring to the snake. File snakes are well equipped to live most of their lives in water, with both eyes and nostril holes on the tops of their heads so that they can breathe and see while keeping the rest of their body submerged.

While snakes in general tend to have a negative reputation, there is really nothing that humans should fear about the file snake. Despite the past belief that it was venomous, it was recently discovered that none of the three types of file snakes carry toxins that can harm a human. They are perfectly content to spend their entire lives living in water, and would prefer to never be seen by humans. This has made it difficult for scientists to gather accurate information on the file snake, resulting only recently in the discovery that they are not poisonous.

The rare times that they do leave the water is only to move from one body of water to another during the wet and dry seasons. They spend their days hiding amongst tree roots and other muddy locations that allow them to see their prey without being seen by it. When hunting they usually strike out at a passing fish, or wrap entire their body around it to bring it closer to their head. They do not strangle their prey to death first, but rather eat it as quickly as they can.

The file snake can range anywhere from 20 to 76 inches long depending on the variety. Little file snakes usually only get as large as 28 inches while the Java file snake can stretch up to 76 inches. The Arafura file snake usually falls in between, reaching a maximum on 67 inches. All three varieties are found in India to Southeast Asia and Australia, preferring the hot and humid climates. All three species lay eggs during the wet season, usually during the middle to late wet season. Depending on the species, it can lay anywhere from five to twenty-six eggs at a time. Because of the small size of the file snakes when they hatch, very little is known about baby file snake.