"Bella" Ratsnake (Elaphe bella)


Scientific Name: Elaphe bella (Stanley, 1917)
Common Names: "Bella" Ratsnake, Chapa Ratsnake
Subspecies: Elaphe bella bella (Stanley, 1917)
Elaphe bella chapaensis (Bourret, 1934)
Size: 80 to 90 cm
Distribution: Northern Burma, North Vietnam, China
Other Info: Elaphe bella, formerly referred to as Elaphe leonardi, is a small, 21/2-3ft (80-90cm), snake very similar in form, pattern and habitat to E. mandarina and E. porphyracea. A significant feature of this snake is the lack of loreal scales. E. bella appears to be a montane species, as most specimens have been collected at higher altitudes, 1500-2000m.
There are two recognized subspecies, E. bella bella from northern Burma and western Yunnan province China. E. bella chapaensis from Northern Vietnam and southern Yunnan province, China.
There were a couple of snakes collected in Fujian province in 1917 and named Coronella bella (Stanley), currently referred to as Oligodon bellus, that are conspecific with Coluber leonardi (Wall), currently referred to as Elaphe leonardi, which were collected in 1921. The name bella is a senior synonym of leonardi, so takes priority.
Very little is know about this secretive and rare little snake.

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