Saturday, May 23, 2009

Common Wolf Snake | Lycodon aulicus

Binomial name: Lycodon aulicus
Common name: Common Wolf Snake

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Lycodon
Species: L. aulicus


Distinguishing Features: Small, slender, with or without clear cross bands; smooth glittery scales; protruding black eyes.

Average Length
: 30 cm; At Birth: 14 cm; Maximum: 80 cm.

Description: This type of snake is grey, brownish or black with 10-20 thin white or yellow bands. Their jet black eyes protrude slightly and the pupil is invisible. Small ones have translucent skins so that the internal organs can be seen from beneath. The head is flattish and somewhat pointed; the scales are smooth and slightly shimmering. They are small and often brightly marked ‘House Snakes’. Total eight species of Wolf Snakes have been reported in India.

Common Wolf Snakes are found throughout India; including the Andaman and Nicobars, up to over 2000 m in the hills.

Habitat: They live in and around caves, stone piles, hollow trees, under bark and other dry, sheltered places. They easily survive in man-made mud, brick and cement caves because of abundant grub to feed on.

Habits: They are strictly nocturnal and are never seen out during the day time. They are great climbers and can easily cling to fairly smooth walls and tree trunks. Initially they tend to bite with micro-ferocity, when handled. Sometimes a big bite can be quite painful. There long front teeth can be sometime mistaken for fangs.

Young: They lay around
5 to 7 eggs in December to January. The young have bolder and brighter patterns than the adults.

Adult Common Wolf Snakes prefer skinks and geckos, though they also eat small lizards and frogs. They swallow their prey alive with the aid of their long front teeth which help in gripping it.

Status: They are often mistaken and killed as ‘
Kraits’. Though found commonly, they are nowhere abundant. Their number is reducing, also because of their requirement as specimen in school and colleges.

1 comment:

  1. I get confused between krait and wolf snake. What's a sure way to identify for safe handling.