Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vine Snake | Ahaetulla nasutus

Labels: Vine Snake, Whip Snake, Hara Samp

Binomial name: Ahaetulla nasutus
Common name: Vine Snake

Scientific classification
















A. nasutus


Distinguishing Features: Medium or large-sized, slender; smooth, dull scales; very pointed head and bright green colouration.

Average Length: 1 m; At Birth: 20 cm; Maximum: 2 m (female).

Description: Vine Snakes are long and thin with pointed heads. Their body is uniformly green in colour with a thin white or yellow line separating the back scales from the belly scales. Their underside is usually light green or yellow. In excitement, their inflated neck and body reveal the black and white inter-scale colour, giving it a banded appearance. Their scales are smooth but not glossy. They have a horizontal elliptical eye, which is a unique feature among those of Indian Snakes. Though common, Vine Snakes can be rarely seen because of their excellent camouflage.

Distribution: This snake is found throughout India, except in the Northwest and much of the Gangetic basin, up to 2,500 m above sea level.

Habitat: They can be seen in and around low bushes to trees, on the plains to large rain forest trees in the hills.

Habits: They normally depend on their shape and colour to getaway exposure. Also, they can move at a fairly good speed. They open the mouth very wide and swell the body warningly, when aggravated. They are rear-fanged and usually hold its prey until the slightly toxic venom has killed it. At the time of breeding, these snakes are group together in clusters and can be even seen in branches.

Young: Nearly 8 young ones are given birth to around August to November. The young ones have slightly turned-up noses and are petite replicas of their parents.

Food: Their diet mainly includes frogs, lizards, small birds and mice. On rare occasions, Vine Snakes even feed on other snakes like the Shieldtail Snake.

Status: Vine Snakes are commonly found. It is greatly feared and almost always killed when seen. In many areas, it is unwisely believed that Vine Snakes will nip at a person’s eyes and peck them out.

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