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Elephant Trunk Snakes

Elephant Trunk Snake Care Guide

Have you ever heard of an aquatic snake with a snout that resembles an elephant’s trunk? Meet the elephant trunk snake, a fascinating species found in Southeast Asia. These snakes are named after their unique and flexible snouts, which they use to catch fish and other prey underwater.

If you’re considering setting up a habitat for these snakes, it’s important to ensure that it meets their specific needs. Elephant trunk snakes require ample swimming space and hiding spots, as well as appropriate water temperature and quality.

One question that often comes up is whether these snakes are poisonous. While they are not venomous, they can still bite if provoked and should be handled with care. As for the price of these exotic pets, it varies depending on factors such as age, size, and availability.

In this article, we’ll explore more about elephant trunk snakes how their trunks work, why having their trunks down may be considered bad luck in some cultures, and much more!

Species Profile of Elephant Trunk Snake

The Elephant Trunk Snake is a unique and fascinating species found in freshwater habitats throughout Southeast Asia. These snakes are known for their long, slender bodies and distinctive trunks that help them breathe while submerged.

Physical Characteristics

The Elephant Trunk Snake gets its name from its long, flexible snout that resembles an elephant’s trunk. This snout helps the snake breathe while it is submerged underwater. The snake’s body is also very long and slender, with an average length of 2-3 meters. Its skin color can vary from brown to greenish-brown or grayish-brown depending on the environment it lives in.

One unique feature of the Elephant Trunk Snake is its ability to flatten its body when threatened, making it difficult for predators to swallow it whole. These snakes have small eyes and nostrils located near the top of their heads which allows them to remain mostly submerged while hunting.

Habitat and Distribution

Elephant Trunk Snakes are found in freshwater habitats throughout Southeast Asia including Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, and Indonesia. They prefer slow-moving rivers or streams with dense vegetation where they can hide among aquatic plants.

These snakes are adapted to living in water but also require access to land for basking and laying eggs. They can often be found near riverbanks or other areas where there is a mix of both water and land.

Diet and Behavior

The Elephant Trunk Snake is carnivorous and feeds primarily on fish but may also consume crustaceans such as crabs or shrimp as well as other small aquatic animals like frogs or tadpoles. These snakes have been known to remain submerged for extended periods while waiting for prey to swim by.

While they are not typically aggressive towards humans unless provoked or threatened, Elephant Trunk Snakes can be dangerous due to their venomous bite. They are not typically kept as pets and should only be observed from a safe distance in the wild.

Size and Lifespan of Elephant Trunk Snake

The elephant trunk snake, also known as Acrochordus javanicus, is a unique aquatic snake that inhabits the freshwater regions of Southeast Asia. These snakes are named after their long, tubular snouts that resemble an elephant’s trunk. In addition to their distinctive appearance, elephant trunk snakes have fascinating characteristics such as their size and lifespan.

Elephant Trunk Snake Size

Elephant trunk snakes are relatively small compared to other species of snakes. On average, they can grow up to 1.5 meters in length, with females being slightly larger than males. However, some specimens have been found to be as long as 2 meters. The size of the elephant trunk snake varies depending on its habitat and diet.

In captivity, these snakes can grow larger due to the availability of food and a controlled environment. It is essential to note that keeping an elephant trunk snake in captivity requires proper care and attention since they have specific needs.

Vent Length

The vent length of an adult elephant trunk snake can reach up to 10 centimeters. The vent length refers to the distance between the cloaca (the opening where urine and feces are expelled) and the tip of the tail. This measurement is essential when determining the sex of a snake since males tend to have longer vent lengths than females.


Elephant trunk snakes have a relatively short lifespan compared to other species of snakes. They typically live for around 8-10 years in their natural habitat but can live slightly longer in captivity with proper care.

It is vital to provide a suitable environment for your pet elephant trunk snake if you plan on keeping one in captivity. A well-maintained tank with clean water and appropriate heating should be provided at all times.

Habitat and Diet

As mentioned earlier, the size of an elephant trunk snake depends on its habitat and diet. These snakes are primarily found in freshwater regions such as rivers, swamps, and mangrove forests. They are excellent swimmers and can spend most of their time underwater.

Elephant trunk snakes feed on fish, crustaceans, and other aquatic animals. Their unique hunting strategy involves lying motionless on the bottom of the water body with their mouth open, waiting for prey to swim by.

Habitat, Habits, and Lifestyle of Elephant Trunk Snakes


Elephant trunk snakes are a species that is primarily found in coastal areas, islands, and aquatic environments. These snakes are native to Southeast Asia and can be found in countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. They prefer freshwater habitats such as rivers, streams, and ponds with low water temperatures.


One of the unique habits of elephant trunk snakes is their ability to hide in leaf litter and live plants. Snake keepers often provide hiding spots and decorations to mimic the natural environment of elephant trunk snakes. They also tend to be more active at night than during the day.


Elephant trunk snakes are aquatic species that primarily feed on small prey such as fish and amphibians. They have a long snout that helps them catch prey underwater. The males have distinctive spotting on their bodies which helps them attract females during breeding season.

Captive Breeding Programs

Captive breeding programs have been successful in maintaining the population of elephant trunk snakes in captivity. These programs help ensure genetic diversity while also providing valuable data on their behavior and physiology.

Javan File Snakes

Javan file snakes (Acrochordus javanicus) are often mistaken for elephant trunk snakes due to their similar appearance. However, they are a different species altogether with different habitat preferences and behaviors.

Diet and Feeding Behavior of Elephant Trunk Snakes

Elephant trunk snakes, scientifically known as Acrochordus javanicus, are unique species of aquatic snakes that are native to Southeast Asia. These snakes have a distinctive appearance due to their long, cylindrical bodies and elephant-like trunks. While these snakes may look intimidating, they are relatively harmless to humans.

One of the most interesting aspects of elephant trunk snakes is their diet and feeding behavior.

Carnivorous Diet

Like many other species of snakes, elephant trunk snakes have a carnivorous diet. This means that they primarily feed on other animals, such as fish and amphibians.

Feeder Fish

The primary food source for elephant trunk snakes is live feeder fish. These snakes use a unique hunting technique to catch their prey. Instead of actively pursuing the fish as some other snake species do, elephant trunk snakes lie in wait at the bottom of bodies of water until an unsuspecting fish swims by. When this happens, the snake uses its sensitive snout to detect the vibrations caused by the fish’s movements in the water. Once it has located its prey, the snake quickly strikes and grabs onto it with its sharp teeth.

Large Quantities

Elephant trunk snakes are known to consume large quantities of fish in one feeding session. This is because they have a slow metabolism and can go for extended periods without eating again. The size and frequency of their meals depend on the size and age of the snake.

Younger elephants trunk snakes require smaller meals more frequently than adult ones do because they need more energy for growth and development. Adult elephants’ trunk snakes can go longer between feedings because they have already reached maturity.

Essential for Survival

Feeding behavior is essential for all animals’ survival in the wild, including elephant trunk snakes. These snakes have adapted to their environment and developed unique hunting techniques that enable them to catch their prey efficiently.

Without a steady supply of food, elephant trunk snakes would not be able to survive in the wild. Therefore, it is essential for them to be successful hunters and consume enough food to sustain themselves.

Nutrition Requirements for Elephant Trunk Snakes

Elephant trunk snakes are fascinating creatures that require specific care requirements to thrive in captivity. One of the most important aspects of their care is providing a proper diet that meets their nutritional needs.


Elephant trunk snakes are carnivorous and require a diet of small fish, frogs, and other aquatic creatures. In the wild, they hunt for prey in shallow waters using their unique snouts to detect vibrations and movements in the water. In captivity, it’s important to provide live prey for stimulation and enrichment.

When feeding your elephant trunk snake, it’s essential to offer appropriate-sized prey items that match the size of your snake’s head. Feeding too large of prey items can lead to choking or impaction while feeding too small of items can result in malnutrition or overfeeding.

A general rule of thumb is to feed your snake once per week with an appropriately sized meal. However, this can vary depending on the age and size of your snake. Younger snakes may require more frequent feedings than adults.


Clean water is crucial for elephant trunk snakes as they need access to both drinking water and soaking water. The water should be changed frequently to prevent bacterial growth and maintain optimal hygiene levels.

It’s recommended to use filtered or dechlorinated water when filling up their enclosure since chlorine can irritate their skin and eyes. Ensure that there is enough space within the enclosure for your snake to move around freely without spilling any water outside its container.


In addition to a varied diet consisting of live prey items, supplements may be necessary if you notice signs of malnutrition or deficiencies in your elephant trunk snake’s health.

Calcium supplements are essential for maintaining healthy bones and preventing metabolic bone disease (MBD), which can be fatal if left untreated. You can dust the prey items with calcium powder before feeding your snake to ensure they receive enough of this vital nutrient.

Housing and Care Sheet for Elephant Trunk Snakes

Elephant trunk snakes belong to the family Acrochordidae and are known for their unique appearance and behavior. These snakes require proper husbandry and care to thrive, making it essential for experienced snake keepers to handle them.

Proper Husbandry

Proper husbandry is crucial when caring for elephant trunk snakes. The following tips can help ensure your snake stays healthy:

  • Temperature: Elephant trunk snakes need a temperature range of 78-84°F during the day and 72-76°F at night. A basking spot with a temperature of 88°F should also be provided.
  • Humidity: These snakes require high humidity levels ranging from 80-100%. To maintain humidity, misting the enclosure daily or using a humidifier can be helpful.
  • Lighting: While elephant trunk snakes do not require UVB lighting, providing a light source that mimics natural daylight can help regulate their circadian rhythm.
  • Feeding: Elephant trunk snakes are carnivorous and feed on fish, frogs, and other small aquatic animals. Feed juveniles once every five days while adults should be fed once every ten days.

Experienced Snake Keepers

Due to their unique needs, elephant trunk snakes are best left in the hands of experienced snake keepers. If you’re new to keeping reptiles or aren’t familiar with these types of snake care requirements, it’s best to leave it up to someone who has experience.

Specialty Reptile Stores

Specialty reptile stores can provide all the necessary equipment needed when housing an elephant trunk snake. Some items you may need include:

  • Ceramic pots: A suitable option for creating a comfortable habitat for these snakes.
  • Large water dish: Provide clean water at all times.
  • Substrate: Use coconut husk or cypress mulch as a substrate.
  • Thermometer and hygrometer: Essential tools for monitoring temperature and humidity levels.
  • Heating source: A heat lamp or under-tank heater can be used to maintain proper temperatures.

PH Levels

Maintaining the correct pH level is essential when keeping elephant trunk snakes. These snakes prefer water with a pH range of 6.5-7.5. To ensure optimal health, monitor and set the pH levels accordingly.

Common Health Concerns for Elephant Trunk Snakes

Health Concerns for elephant trunk snakes

As with any animal, the health of elephant trunk snakes is important to ensure their well-being. These snakes are susceptible to a variety of health issues that can affect their quality of life and even lead to serious injury or death if left untreated. Some common health concerns for elephant trunk snakes include respiratory infections, parasitic infestations, and skin problems.

Respiratory infections can occur when the snake’s enclosure is not properly ventilated or if it is exposed to cold temperatures. Symptoms may include wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect your snake has a respiratory infection, it’s important to take them to a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles as soon as possible.

Parasitic infestations such as mites and ticks can also be problematic for elephant trunk snakes. These parasites can cause irritation and anemia, and even transmit diseases. Regular inspections and treatment with appropriate medications can help prevent these infestations from occurring.

Skin problems such as blisters or lesions on the snake’s body may indicate poor water quality in their enclosure or improper handling techniques. It’s important to monitor your snake’s skin regularly and provide appropriate substrate in its enclosure to prevent skin irritation.

Serious injuries caused by elephant trunk snakes

While elephant trunk snakes are generally docile creatures, they do have the potential to cause serious injury if mishandled or provoked. Their bite can be painful and may result in swelling, bleeding, or infection if not treated promptly.

It’s important to handle these snakes with care and respect their space. Avoid sudden movements or loud noises that could startle them as this may trigger defensive behavior such as biting.

If you do get bitten by an elephant trunk snake, seek medical attention immediately. Clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water before heading to the hospital where you will likely receive antibiotics and pain medication.

Potential for injury when handling elephant trunk snakes

As mentioned earlier, the potential for injury exists when handling elephant trunk snakes. This is why it’s important to take proper precautions and handle them with care.

Always wash your hands before and after handling your snake to prevent the spread of bacteria. Use appropriate equipment such as gloves or tongs if necessary and avoid holding the snake too tightly as this can cause stress and injury.

It’s also important to provide a safe enclosure for your snake that meets its specific needs in terms of temperature, humidity, and substrate. A healthy environment can help prevent stress-related health issues from occurring.

Importance of proper care and handling to prevent health issues

Proper care and handling are crucial to preventing health issues in elephant trunk snakes. This includes providing a suitable enclosure with appropriate temperature, humidity, lighting, substrate, and hiding spots.

Regular inspections of your snake’s skin and overall health can help identify any potential problems early on before they become more serious. Feeding your snake a balanced diet that meets its nutritional needs is also important for its overall well-being.

All You Need to Know About the Fascinating Elephant Trunk Snake

In conclusion, the elephant trunk snake is a unique species with remarkable characteristics. It requires proper care and attention in captivity to thrive. From their habitat and feeding behavior to their nutrition requirements and common health concerns, we have covered all the essential information you need to know about these fascinating snakes.

If you are considering keeping an elephant trunk snake as a pet, be sure to provide them with adequate housing, nutrition, and care. Regular veterinary check-ups are also crucial for maintaining their health.

Here are some FAQs that can help you make informed decisions when it comes to owning an elephant trunk snake:

FAQ 1: What should I feed my elephant trunk snake?

Elephant trunk snakes primarily feed on fish. They require a varied diet that includes small-sized fish such as guppies, minnows, or goldfish.

FAQ 2: How often should I feed my elephant trunk snake?

Younger elephants require more frequent feeding than adults. Feed young snakes every two days while adult snakes can eat once or twice a week.

FAQ 3: What is the ideal temperature range for housing an elephant trunk snake?

The optimal temperature range for an elephant trunk snake’s enclosure is between 75-85°F (24-29°C). The humidity level should also be maintained at around 70%.

FAQ 4: Do elephant trunk snakes make good pets?

Yes, they do! Elephant trunk snakes can make great pets if provided with proper care and attention.

FAQ 5: Are there any legal restrictions on owning an elephant trunk snake?

It depends on your location. Some states or countries may have specific regulations regarding owning exotic animals like the elephant trunk snake. Be sure to check your local laws before getting one as a pet.

FAQ 6: Can I house multiple elephants together?

It’s not recommended because they are solitary creatures and may become aggressive towards each other.

FAQ 7: What are some common health concerns for elephant trunk snakes?

Respiratory infections, mites, and bacterial infections are the most common health issues in elephant trunk snakes. Regular veterinary check-ups can help prevent these problems.

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