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Macleay's water snake

Macleay's water snake (Pseudoferania polylepis)
Mount Carbine, Queensland
Photo © Rob Valentic
Pseudoferania polylepis - (Fischer, 1886)
Pronunciation  SUE-doh-feh-RAIN-nee-ah   POL-ee-LEP-iss
Etymology  Pseudoferania: false Ferania, after another genus of homalopsid snake.1
polylepis: 'many-scaled'. Its common name comes from an old scientific name for this species, Pseudoferania macleayi.
Other names  Enhydris polylepis
Hypsirhina polylepis
Hypsirhina macleayi
Pseudoferania macleayi
Total length
Species avg: 60 cm
Species max: 80 cm
Litter size
Average: 12
Length and clutch size information comes from a variety of sources, but primarily from Shine (1991) and Cogger (2000).
Description Distribution Natural history Conservation Further information More photos


Brownish-black on top. Pale below.

Similar species

Taxonomic notes

Pseudoferania has been resurrected as the genus for this species2, as it has been shown that this species is only distantly related to the south-east Asian Enhydris3.

Scale count information

Dorsal scales at midbody   21 to 23
Ventrals   140 to 165 with a divided anal scale
Subcaudals   35 to 50 and are divided
Other scale information   Nasal scales in contact.
Danger rating   Weakly venomous. Small fangs at back of mouth, but large specimens should be treated with caution.
Note: even a bite from a 'virtually harmless' or non-venomous reptile can result in serious complications. Play it safe and don't get bitten by anything.
Notes and disclaimer
This information may not be complete. While all care is taken to ensure the accuracy of the information in this page, primary sources should always be consulted for definitive information. Animals have an endearing habit of disobeying the rules, so the information on this page should be interpreted with a degree of flexibility.
The author and site operator accepts no responsibility for any losses or damages incurred through using this web site or the information contained herein. Don't get bitten by anything!
This page may be cited as:
  Pseudoferania polylepis at the Australian Reptile Online Database. Last updated 2017-08-08 22:15:47.
  Retrieved from on the 5th of August, 2020.
Before citing information contained in AROD, please read our Citing AROD page.

Copyright notice
This page, its content and layout are copyright © 2007-2020 Stewart Macdonald / Ug Media, unless otherwise stated.
All photographs in The Australian Reptile Online Database are © the photographer and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the photographer.
No part of The Australian Reptile Online Database may be reproduced without written permission from Stewart Macdonald.
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