Bronze-Headed Vine Snake ( Ahaetulla perroteti Duméril & Bibron, 1854 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Ahaetulla perroteti (Duméril & Bibron, 1854)
Regional Names: 
English: 
Western Ghats Bronzeback
Kannada: 
ಕಂಚು ತಲೆಯ ಬಳ್ಳಿ ಹಾವು
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
Found in hill grasslands of Southern Western Ghats. Recorded from North Canara (?), Nilgiris, Silent Valley, High Wavys, Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kalakkad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Eravikulam, Coorg and Courtallam.
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

This species looks very different from other Vine snakes by having short body, smaller tail and shorter snout. 

 

Description: 

Maximum length- 67cm. (Female)
Females grow larger than males.

Dorsal -
Moderately thin, comparatively shorter than rest of Ahaetulla species, and slender body. Scales smooth, long and obliquely arranged. Dorsal color in males light or pale green to greenish yellow; brownish orange pr brownish ochre with a pale lateral stripe along the outermost row. Regular black and white or entirely black interscale patterns present in oblique manner from neck to much of posterior body.

Ventral -
Belly entirely yellowish-white or pale green with a white line along the outer edge with green inside. Subcaudal scales paired in zigzag manner.

Head -
Head elongated, broader than neck; snout obtusely acuminate; rostral appendages absent. Upper lip color depends on dorsal and ventral color, usually greenish, yellowish, brownish. A fine black line exist behind eyes to posterior of lip. Oval shape eyes have horizontal pupils.

Tail -
Much shorter and thicker than other Ahaetulla and slender tail ends with pointed tip.

Scalation
Head: 
Supralabial 8 or 9; 4th & 5th in contact with eyes; loreal absent, this region strongly concave; internasals and prefrontals in contact with supralabials; preocular 1; postocular 1; temporal 1+2 or 2+2.
Dorsal: 
Smooth scales in 15: 5: 13 in oblique rows.
Ventral: 
133-156; angulate laterally; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
63-79; paired.
Habitat: 
Bronze-headed Vine Snake is a diurnal and preferably a terrestrial species which shows activity throughout the sunny day on grasslands or low heights. Choose dense plantations and grass, rocks in Shola forests for activity and hiding. Found in hills above 1500mtr elevations. Lives mainly in Hilly Shola grasslands.
Natural History: 
Locomotion fast in grassy environment while slower on land. Behavior shy and usually non-offensive. On threatening it throws half of fore body into curves, laterally inflates it and open its mouth slightly look fascinating and bigger. Can bite on further disturbance. Female directly gives birth to 2-10 young during whole of monsoon of Southern Western Ghats.
Diet: 
Feeds on lizards, small birds, frogs, field rodents etc.
Threats: 
Major threats to this species is habitat destruction which is mainly hill grasslands. Due to extensive human colonization such grasslands are in verge of extinction. This will certainly affect population status of A. perroteti.
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