Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Green Keelback | Macropisthodon plumbicolor

Labels: Green Keelback Snake, Lead Keelback

Binomial name:
Macropisthodon plumbicolor
Common Name: Green Keelback

Scientific classification

Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Colubridae
Genus: Macropisthodon
Species: M. plumbicolor


Distinguishing Features: Medium-sized; keel-scaled; grass-green coloured; flattens neck into ‘hood’ with distinct ‘Vmark when aggravated.

Average Length: 55 cm; At Birth: 7.5 cm; Maximum: 80 cm.

Description: Green Keelback’s overall colour is bright green with imprecise and irregular black cross lines. The head and neck bear a fairly clear ‘V’ mark which becomes part of the ‘hood’ design when the snake is provoked. The skin is slightly glossy and strongly keeled. The head is wide and eyes are large, round-pupilled. Their underside is greyish-white.

Distribution: They are found in the forests of India, up to 1500 m above sea level.

Habitat: They find shelter chiefly on the hills and plateaus, in dense evergreen as well as open deciduous forests.

Habits: Not much is known about the habits of this snake. When frightened, they freeze into ‘S’s as most of the snakes do. In deposition, it is gentle and inoffensive.

Young: The female lays around 12 eggs. The young are brightly coloured with black bands and speckled markings on their body up to 8 months or even a year. Their neck markings are also conspicuous.

Food: They favour toads to all other prey. Their long rear teeth in the roof of the mouth facilitate easycatching of the prey.

Status: Green Keelbacks are not a very commonly found species, although they are widely distributed. But with rapid deforestation, their preferred forest habitat is apparently disappearing.

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