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Slithering wonder in black and yellow

Rajesh Srivana, Mangalore, April 8, 2012, DHNS:

State’s first recorded sighting of the banded krait in Hassan district

It’s a treat for herpetologists with the first recorded discovery of the banded krait (scientific name Bungarus Fasciatus) in the State in Hassan district four months ago.

The banded krait swallowing a water snake. DH PhotoThe person who saw it on the roadside thought it was a colourful belt. On touching it, it started moving, much to his amazement. The krait, which had injuries on the head, was taken to Dr Ravindranath Aithal, a Puttur-based herpetologist.

It is currently undergoing treatment at Aithal’s Sheshavana protection and rehabilitation centre. Dr Aithal is taking care of it by providing it water snakes and rats for food.

It has typical black and yellow bands, giving it the name banded krait. The snake has rarely been found in South India. Books on Indian snakes also say that the banded krait is usually found in the states of North, Central and North Eastern India.

Wikipedia lists Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal among states where the Bungarus Fasciatus snake is found.

This nocturnal species has an aversion to light. It coils itself whenever light falls on it. The slow-moving snake has a triangular body. It rarely bites during day time, but its poison is said to be very strong. Its fangs are tiny.

There have been sightings of the banded krait in Hebri, Kundapur and Agumbe, but in many cases it has been killed as it is a poisonous snake. No efforts have been made to record the sightings of the banded krait.

The common krait, which belongs to the same family, is commonly found in South India, including Karnataka.


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