Monday, May 25, 2009

Banded Kukri | Oligodon arnensis

Labels: Common Kukri Snake, Banded Kukri

Binomial name: Oligodon arnensis
Common Name: Banded Kukri

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Oligodon
Species: O. arnensis


Distinguishing Features: Small; smooth, lustrous scales; prominent cross bands and characteristic chevron mark on top of the head.

Average Length: 35 cm; At Birth: 8 cm; Maximum: 64 cm.

Description: Banded Kukris are reddish or greyish-brown with 10-12 black or dark brown bands. The top of the head has a distinct arrowhead design. Underneath they are white in appearance. The scales are smooth and glossy, head is thin with a blunt tip, and eyes are round-pupilled. These snakes get their name from their sharp, curved teeth, perfect for holding strong prey such as geckos. Banded Kukris are the most common of the 34 Kukri snakes of Asia. Russell’s Kukri is another common species.

Distribution: Found throughout India. The White-barred Kukri of Assam is found up to 2000 m in the hills.

Habitat: Though they are sometimes found in termite mounds, Banded Kukris like the wolf and cat snakes, are mainly cave, crevice and tree-hole dwellers that find old broken houses especially proper for their occupancy.

Habits: They are out and active on cool rainy nights. This species almost never bites and its main defence is to stiffen and jerk when provoked, similar to Kraits.

Young: Banded Kukris normally lay 3-6 eggs. Baby Kukris appear in Madras in September.

Food: They feed on Geckos, skinks and small mice. They are chiefly fond of birds and reptile eggs. The tiny young ones feed on insects, their larvae and spiders.

Status: This is a fairly common snake, although they are nowhere in plenty. They are often mistaken for Kraitskilled.

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