Ashambu Shieldtail ( Uropeltis liura Günther, 1875 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Uropeltis liura (Günther, 1875)
Regional Names: 
English: 
Günther's Earth Snake
Kannada: 
ಆಶಾಂಬು ಗುರಾಣಿ ಹಾವು
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
Endemic to Western Ghats. Found in the ranges south of Palghat Gap, where it can be met with in the higher slopes of Travancore, Meghamalai-Kottaimalai-Devarmalai, Periyar hills and Agasthyamalai massifs. Fisrt decsribed from Meghamalai / High Wavy hills.
Venom Type: 
N/A
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Dorsum purplish brown, with each scale darker-edged, and with transverse series of small yellow black-edged ocelli. Ventrum and sides with large alternating black and yellow spots or crossbands.

Description: 

A fairly slender, short snake. Adults attain 32 cm (12 1⁄2 in) in total length.Head fairly narrow, neck not evident; body fairly gracile; tail blunt. Tail shield round or slightly laterally compressed. Caudal dorsal scales smooth or with very faint keels. Terminal scute very small, with two points.

Scalation
Head: 
Snout obtusely pointed. Rostral about ⅓ the length of the shielded part of the head, portion visible from above as long as its distance from the frontal. Nasals in contact with each other behind the rostral. Frontal longer than broad. Eye small, its diameter less than ½ the length of the ocular shield.
Dorsal: 
Dorsal scales in 19 rows behind the head, in 17 rows at midbody.
Ventral: 
Ventrals 174-188; Ventrals twice as wide as the contiguous scales.
Sub Caudal: 
subcaudals 8-12, paired.
Habitat: 
Found in wet evergreen and shola forest habitats. Also occurs in nearby plantations and monoculture lands.
Natural History: 
Poorly known. Burrowing. Nocturnal, becoming more active during the rains.
Diet: 
Probably feeds on earth worms and other soft-bodied invertebrates.
Threats: 
Road kills, habitat loss, destruction and use of pesticide in plantations.
Authors & Contributors: