Republic of the Philippines - Stamps & Postal History

RP Issues of 2017











2017, August 16.  Endemic Snakes of the Philippines

Litho Offset, Amstar Printing Company, Inc.,  Perf 14

Se-tenant Blocks of 4,  Miniature Sheets of 16;  Souvenir Sheets of 4





Se-tenant Blocks of Four  (25,600)


12p  Yellow-Spotted Philippine Pitviper

12p  Red-tailed Blind Snake

12p  Philippine Forest Cat Snake

12p  Luzon Forest Cat Snake


Miniature Sheets of 16  (Four Se-tenants B/4) (6,400)


100p Souvenir Sheets of Four (5,000)

25p  Philippine Variable Paradise Snake

25p  Eastern Visayas Wolf Snake

25p  Zigzag-lined Keelback

25p  Philippine Whip Snake


Note:  Due to spot laminations on souvenir sheets, the stamp values on each stamp of the souvenir sheets were raised to 25p in contrast with the four individual stamps on the se-tenant B/4 with values of 12p (single domestic rate) only, having NO spot laminations.


Designer:  Victorino Z. Serevo


Dr. Arvin C. Diesmos, Ph.D., Scientist III, In-charge, Herpetology Sec., Zoology Div., National Museum of the Philippines, Manila.

Mae Lowe L. Diesmos, M.Sc., Asst. Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Santo Tomas, Manila.



First Day Covers:  Manila






Yellow Spotted Philippine Pitviper (Trimeresurus flavomaculatus).  Small in length, moderately long bodied, short, prehensile tailed snake. Can grow to a maximum of about 0.95 meters. Head is sub-triangular shaped, broad, slightly flattened and distinct from narrow neck. Snout is moderately short.  Eyes are medium in size with vertically elliptical pupils.  Found in damper lowland plains and jungle of the Philippines.  Mainly a nocturnal and arboreal snake that will often descend to the ground in search of prey.  Feeds mainly on frogs, geckos and fishes and some small mammals.

Red–tailed Blind Snake (Malayotyphlops ruficauda).  This poorly known species is endemic to the Philippines, where it has been recorded from the islands of Luzon including Mount Isarog, Tablas and Marinduque.  There is no information available on the population abundance of this species. It appears to be known from very few specimens.

Philippine Forest Cat Snake (Boiga philippina).  Boiga philippina, also known as the tawny cat-eyed snake or Philippine cat snake, has a very slender body that usually reaches lengths of up to 7 feet. The big head is of typical Boiga fashion with big eyes and elliptical pupils much like a cat's eye. The white chin extends down the neck to almost half of its body. Body coloration maybe tan, light brown, brown, coffee-color to a pale orange. The underside is made-up of big belly scute scales that is usually tan to orange in color. Underneath the scales of the neck are yellow, black and white markings. Tongue color is black with white or gray tips.

Luzon Forest Cat Snake (Boiga dendrophila divergens).  One of the biggest cat snake species, averaging 6–8 feet (1.8–2.4 m) in length.  It is considered mildy venomous.   Although its venom is said to be slightly stronger than most Boiga species, its rounded mouth is very unlikely to cause an envenomating bite. If it does come to a point of envenomation, there is swelling in the bite area that usually subsides within two to three days. No fatalities have been reported so far.

Philippine Variable Paradise Snake (Chrysopelea paradisi variabilis).   Paradise tree snake or Paradise flying snake, Chrysopelea paradisi, is a species of snake found in southeastern Asia. It can, like all species of its genus Chrysopelea, glide by stretching the body into a flattened strip using its ribs. It is mostly found in moist forests and can cover a horizontal distance of about 100 meters in a glide from the top of a tree. Slow motion photography shows an undulation of the snake's body in flight while the head remains relatively stable, suggesting controlled flight. They are mildly venomous with rear fangs and also can constrict their prey, which consists of mostly lizards and bats.

Eastern Visayas Wolf Snake (Lycodon ferroni).   This recently described species is endemic to the island of Samar in the Philippines where it is currently known only with certainty from the type specimen collected.  Very little is known about the natural history of this species. Lanza (1999) records that "The specimen was collected at 7 a.m., right at the entrance of a cave situated 20 m above the bed of La Blanca Aurora River, on a steep slope covered by a thick forest".   The only confirmed collection took place within the proposed Samar Island Natural Park. There is a need to ensure that natural habitat is adequately maintained within the species known range. Additional field studies are needed on Samar to better understand the distribution, natural history and threats to this snake.

Zigzag-lined Keelback(Rhabdophis lineata).  Named after Latin “linea”, meaning stripe or line. Endemic to the Philippines (Basilan, Bohol, Mindanao, Samar, Leyte).  These snakes are hesitant to strike, but they have a potent venom. In the 1970s they were considered being harmless and traded as pets, but a few severe and lethal bites later, they were reclassified as dangerous venomous snakes.

Philippine Whip Snake (Dryophiops philippina.  Also known as the keel-bellied whipsnake or simply Philippine whipsnake, endemic to the Philippines.  Its body is about 3 to 6 feet long. Coloration is dark brown or black, sometimes gray above and often with a light green or pale blue flecks. The tongue is bright red. Cream or white colored lateral stripes on each side are bisected by dark blackish lines, which are nearly continuous along the dorsolateral stripe.  It has a broad head, large eyes in proportion to the head, and a slender neck.   It is docile but a very nervous snake. If the area where it is residing is disturbed, it may spring up to flee, or remain very still. It can remain motionless for extended periods of time but usually it is always on the move.




  • Animals - Reptiles


Articles by Dr. Ngo Tiong Tak

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Issues of 2017