Condanarus Sand Snake ( Psammophis condanarus Merrem, 1820 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Psammophis condanarus (Merrem, 1820)
Regional Names: 
English: 
Indo-burmese Sand Snake
Kannada: 
ಕೊಂಡಾನರಸ್ ಹಾವು
Gujarati: 
કોન્ડાનારસ રેતીયો સાપ
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
Found in patched form in east India (Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chattisgarh, West Bengal), Central-western India (confirmed records from Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand). Probably found in dry parts of South India too. Not found in North-east region and Islands.
Venom Type: 
Neurotoxic
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Can be identified by checking light and dark stripes on dorsal body. In this species the topmost stripe is found to be darker and broader than adjacent stripes. This helps in differentiating it from Leith's Sand Snake (Psammophis leithii) which bears light and narrower stripe on top.

Description: 

Average length- 80cm.
Maximum length- 107.5cm.

Dorsal -
Body thin, long, slender and covered with subequal smooth scales. Ground color pale brown or light olive with three black edged stripes running transversely along the dorsal body. Top stripe broadest and of dark color which is guarded by light brown and narrower stripes.

Ventral -
Belly yellowish-white or yellowish-green and can be seen from side view of snake. Ventral scales with blackish color rounded edge.

Head -
Head elongated, covered with smooth scales and broader than neck. Snout pointed, tapered over lower jaw. Distinct ridge found between the top and side of head. Snout usually have a median black margined light brown streak on snout. Dorsal stripes starts from snout which are best visible in juveniles and almost patternless in adults. The top dark stripe of dorsal starts from the top of the head in forked form by leaving a short median streak, they unites on the posterior of head and continues as a broad stripe of dorsal. Upper lip white with dark brown blotches on each supralabial in juvenile stage while plain yellowish or marked lightly in adults. Large eyes with rounded pupil.

Tail -
Long, slender and very thin tail having dorsal stripes in less prominent form.

Scalation
Head: 
Supralabial 8; 4th & 5th in contact with eyes; loreal 1, elongate; preocular 1; postocular 2; temporal 1+2; frontal long and narrow, broaden on front. Maxillary teeth 12 or 13.
Dorsal: 
Smooth and subequal scales in 17:17:13/15 rows.
Ventral: 
165-179; rounded; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
85-93 (Male), 75-85 (Female); paired.
Habitat: 
Distributed mainly in wide range of forests including mixed, dry and moist deciduous forests of hills and plains, grasslands, deserts, semi-desert, hilly forests etc. Found both in drier parts (distribution in Indian subcontinent) and other green forests (other South-east Asian parts) up to 6500ft. Choose dense thorny bushes of low height, holes and rock gaps for roosting and egg laying. This species is confined in modified environment and found around agricultural lands in many parts.
Natural History: 
Condanarus Sand Snake is a diurnal species which shows activity throughout the day among thorny bushes. Activity both terrestrial and arboreal. Locomotion fast in serpentine motion in all environment. Behavior very alert, quick to respond and non-offensive. No specific display known to call it aggressive response and always try to escape on threatening. Bites in chew manner which can locally cause swelling and moderate pain. Oviparous. Female lays eggs under rocks, tree holes, mounds, small caves etc.
Diet: 
Feeds on lizards, bird chicks, frogs, rodents and other snake by actively chasing them.
Threats: 
This species lives mainly in scrub forests containing thorny vegetation. In India such forests are found in more or less patched form and its distribution is currently assumed to be patched. Loss of such forests may affect its population. It rarely encounters with human beings and so killing appears to be not a big threat to it. Road kills are occasionally seen in its range.
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