Copper-Headed Trinket ( Coelognathus radiatus Boie, 1827 )

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Scientific Name: 
Coelognathus radiatus (Boie, 1827)
Regional Names: 
Radiated Trinket, Radiated Ratsnake
Found in whole of North-east region, Himalayan foothills till Uttrakhand; also found in continious form Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
Characteristics for identification: 

It can be identified by checking black stripes running along the reddish-brown body and somewhat copper color head. 


At birth- 25-30cm.
Average length- 150cm.
Maximum length- 230cm.

Dorsal -
Body long and stout. Scales subequal, smooth or weakly keeled in adults. Dorsal color grayish-brown, fawn or reddish brown with four black stripes on anterior half of body which also have laterally arranged chains. Posterior body patterns faint or absent.

Ventral -
Belly color uniform whitish, gray or yellow. Subcaudal scales paired in zig-zag manner.

Head -
Head elongated, not depressed and broader than neck. Head color copper with a fine black streak on nape which joins with a same color streak coming behind the eyes. Two more streaks starts from eyes and pass through upper lips. Eyes have rounded pupil.

Tail -
Long and thin tail typically like other Trinket snakes with a pointed tip. Dorsal body patterns does not reach to tail and its always patternless.

Supralabial 8 or 9; 4th to 6th or 3rd to 5th in contact with eyes; loreal 1, slightly longer than height; preocular 1; postocular 2; temporal 2+2. Posterior maxillary teeth largest.
Scales usually smooth; weakly keeled on the top dorsal in adults; 19/21: 19 :17 rows.
207-250 with strong lateral keel; anal undivided.
Sub Caudal: 
80-108; paired. Hemipenis extends to the 10th caudal plate.
Lives in variety of forests including semi-evergreen, dry deciduous, low lands etc. prefers water bodies in surrounding for activity. It is well confined in urban settlement in its distribution range and can be seen frequently in North-east region. Hides in caves, mounds, wooden logs etc.
Natural History: 
Copper-headed Trinket is a diurnal and terrestrial species which shows activity near water bodies and mounds. Often seen at heights in search of birds and rodents. Behavior alert and nervous. On approaching closer it immediately inflates much of forebody, keeps it above the ground with open mouth and hissing. With such posture it shows aggression and tries to look bigger. Oviparous. Female lays up to 16 eggs in most of the months of year. Prefers warmer climate for egg guarding.
Feeds on rodents, birds, small mammals, birds, lizards and frogs.
In many parts of its range (mainly in other countries) it is consumed for edible and medicinal purpose. Also this is one of the most demanding Colubrid in pet trade. Road kills and habitat destruction can be additional threats to notice.
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