C. rynchops is commonly found in mangroves: mudflats, streams, ponds, tidal pools, on algae patches, and has even been found burrowing into the mud. C. rynchops is rear-fanged and is mildly venomous. An aquatic and nocturnal snake, it feeds mainly on fish and is known to consume eels.
In captivity, it is observed to move in a sidewinding direction on land. It also has a prehensile tail that would suggest it could climb mangrove trees. It is now known, to give birth to live young, numbering from 8 to 30, either in water or on land.
It is a quite docile, mild-tempered and a hardy snake that in recent years it has become a welcome addition to snake hobbyists in the Philippines and also owing its popularity to its bright yellow to orange belly-coloring, mostly of females.
This is a saltwater tolerant species found in Australia (North Territory, Queensland, West Australia), New Guinea, Indonesia (Ambon, Babi, Bacan = Batjan, Bali, Bangka, Buru, Butung, Dolak, Enggano, Flores, Goram, Halmahera, Java, Kalimantan, Lombok, Mentawai Archipelago, Nako, Natuna Archipelago, Nias, Riau Archipelago, Roti, Sangihe Archipelago, Saparua, Seram, Simeulue, Singapore, Sulawesi, Sula Archipelago, Sumatra, Sumba, Sumbawa, Talaud Archipelago, Ternate, Timor, We, Western New Guinea, Wetar); Bangladesh, Cambodia, India (including Andaman and Nicobar Islands), Malaysia (Malaya and East Malaysia, incl. Pulau Tioman), Burma (Myanmar), Philippine Islands (including Palawan, Panay, Luzon); Singapore; Sri Lanka; Thailand and Vietnam. Race novaeguinea is found in Indonesia (Western New Guinea). Type locality: "Ganjam" (Orissa State, SE India)
- Boulenger, George A. 1890 The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp.
- Karns,D.R.; O'Bannon,A.; Voris,H.K. & Weigt,L.A. 2000 Biogeographical implications of mitochondrial DNA variation in the Bockadam snake (Cerberus rynchops, Serpentes, Homalopsinae) in Southeast Asia. J. Biogeography 27: 391–402
- Schneider, J. G. 1799 Historiae Amphibiorum narturalis et literariae. Fasciculus primus, continens Ranas. Calamitas, Bufones, Salamandras et Hydros. Jena, 266 S.