The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Erpeton tentaculatum
(Tentacled Snake)

Copyright Info
Erpeton tentaculatum Lacépède in Latreille, 1801

Common name: Tentacled Snake

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Native Range: This species is endemic to Peninsular Southeast Asia, occurring in Thailand and southern Vietnam (Uetz, 2012).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Erpeton tentaculatum are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL201020101Florida Southeast Coast

Table last updated 2/27/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: This species inhabits stagnant or slow moving bodies of water with emergent-submergent vegetation (Uetz, 2012). During the dry season it will bury itself under the mud until the rainy season returns. It can be found in fresh, brackish, and sea water (Murphy et al. 2010).

This rear-fanged aquatic snake feeds exclusively on fish, which is accomplished via an ambush method. It lives its entire life in murky water and can stay underwater for up to 30 minutes without coming up for air. It can move only awkwardly on land. In dry times and at night, the snake may burrow itself in the mud. The 5-13 young develop ovoviviparously (eggs hatch internally) and are born live underwater (Thiesen, 2012).

Means of Introduction: Pet release.

Status: A breeding population is not suspected.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: Although it does have venomous fangs, the Tentacled Snake is not considered dangerous to humans (Thieson, 2012). The fangs are small, only partially grooved, and positioned deep in the rear of the mouth. This is the only species of snake to possess twin "tentacles" on the front of its head, which have been shown to have mechano-sensory function (Toronto Zoo, 2012).

References: (click for full references)

Krysko, K.L. and 12 others. 2011. Verified non-indigenous amphibians and reptiles in Florida from 1863 through 2010: Outlining the invasion process and identifying invasion pathways and stages. Zootaxa 3028:1-64.

Murphy, J., Brooks, S.E. & Bain, R.H. 2010. Erpeton tentaculatum. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Available from:http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed 3/5/2013.

Thiesen, H.K. 2012. Snakes of Thailand. Available from: http://www.siam-info.com/english/snakes_homalopsinae.html#Erpeton%20tentaculum. Accessed 3/5/2013.

Tortonto Zoo. 2012. Tentacled snake. Accessed 3/5/2013 at: http://www.torontozoo.com/ExploretheZoo/AnimalDetails.asp?pg=580.

Uetz, P. (ed.). 2012.  The Reptile Database. Available from: http://www.reptile-database.org.

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 8/6/2013

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2024, Erpeton tentaculatum Lacépède in Latreille, 1801: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2851, Revision Date: 8/6/2013, Access Date: 2/27/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [2/27/2024].

Contact us if you are using data from this site for a publication to make sure the data are being used appropriately and for potential co-authorship if warranted.

For general information and questions about the database, contact Wesley Daniel. For problems and technical issues, contact Matthew Neilson.