Barred Wolf Snake ( Lycodon striatus Shaw, 1802 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Lycodon striatus (Shaw, 1802)
Regional Names: 
English: 
Barred Wolf Snake
Gujarati: 
પટીત વરુદંતી
Kannada: 
ಪಟ್ಟೆ ತೋಳದ ಹಾವು
Photographs: 
Typical form with yellow patches on the top of each band.
Distribution: 
All over the India excluding most of West Bengal, whole North-east region and islands.
Venom Type: 
N/A
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Black or dark chocolate brown body with broad bands of white color. These bands usually have yellow colour patch on the toIt can be easily identified by checking thick white bars over glossy black dorsal body. White bands usually have vibrant yellow patches on top which are helpful to distinguish it from Kraits. p. Tail reticulated with white color markings.

Description: 

Average length- 40cm.
Maximum length- 60cm.

Dorsal -
Body slender with shiny, subequal and smooth. Dorsal color glossy black or dark chocolate brown. Milky white cross bars starts from the neck till the end of tail where they become reticulated or net like; on fore and mid body bars are narrow on the top while forked on flank. In almost all specimens clear yellow color patch exist on the top of each bar; sometimes very faint or not visible in adults.

Ventral -
Belly entirely glossy white without any pattern. Subcaudal scales paired in zig-zag manner.

Head -
Head depressed on snout and more rounded than typical Lycodon species with smooth shiny scales; slightly broader than neck. Upper lip color may be white or black. Eyes entirely black with vertically elliptical pupil; tongue color reddish.

Tail -
Normal length tail with dense reticulations; ends with pointed tip.

Scalation
Head: 
8 supralabial; 3rd to 5th in contact with eyes; preocular 1; loreal 1, in contact with internasal; postocular 1; temporal 2+3 or 1+2 (rarely).
Dorsal: 
Glossy smooth scales in 17: 17: 15 rows.
Ventral: 
South of lat. 20° 154-166, North of lat 20° 163-195; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
South of lat. 20° 35-50, North of lat. 20° 44-58; paired.
Habitat: 
Remain hidden in narrow cracks, insect holes, under heavy objects, loose roots during day time. Widely distributed in variety of forests including dry and mixed deciduous forests, rainforests, semi-deserts, grasslands etc. Lives both in hills and plains. Habitat includes agricultural lands, rocky terrain, open lands having cracks and insect holes etc.
Natural History: 
Barred Wolf Snake is a nocturnal and terrestrial species which shows activity usually on ground but sometimes seen at low heights. Behavior shy, elusive and non-offensive. On provocation restrict itself in a small ball like coil with head hidden under it. Jerk its tail in aggressive response. On handling usually don't make bite attempts. Most of the new born seen during monsoon. Female lays & guards upto 4 eggs under the rocks, narrow cracks, loose roots, insect holes etc. Incubation period is usually 50-60 days depending upon geographical location and temperature.
Diet: 
Feeds mostly on geckos, small skinks; other small snakes; juveniles and subadults feeds on larvae and small insects.
Threats: 
Threats are killing due to confusion & misidentification with venomous species Common Krait. As this species is well confined in modified habitats like agricultural lands, gardens and urban settlements, habitat destruction seems not much affecting its overall population status.
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