Dumeril's Black-headed Snake ( Sibynophis subpunctatus Duméril & Bibron, 1854 )

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Scientific Name: 
Sibynophis subpunctatus (Duméril & Bibron, 1854)
Regional Names: 
Jerdon's Many-tooth Snake
ಡುಮರಿಲ್ ಕಪ್ಪುತಲೆ ಹಾವು
શ્યામશિર સાપ
All over the country excluding North-east states after North Bengal, above Gangetic plains, also not found in Indian Islands. Recorded from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Daman & Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Venom Type: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Can be identified easily by checking brown dorsal, black color head and patternless tail ending with pointed tip.


Average length- 30cm.
Maximum length- 46cm.

Dorsal -
Body thin, slender and covered with smooth and subequal scales. Dorsal color grayish-brown with a discontinuous but constant series of black dots on the top (along vertebra). Reddish tint present on much of mid body.

Ventral -
Belly greenish-yellow with blackish dots present on each side of ventral scales.

Head -
Head with slightly pointed snout; slightly broader than neck. Color black with yellowish-white markings on front and two large patches on the posterior of parietals. One white collar also present where black region ends and dorsal brown color starts.

Tail -
Long and thin tail with a pointed tip. Color similar to rest of the body.

9 supralabial (rarely 8); 4rd to 6th in contact with eyes ; preocular 1; loreal 1; postocular 2; anterior temporal 2, parietal touches both postoculars so temporals excluded from postoculars.
Smooth scales in 17:17:17 rows.
South of lat. 14° & Sri Lanka 151-200, North of lat 18° 172-215; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
60-76 (Male), 54-63 (Female); paired.
Found in variety of forests including rainforest; mixed, moist and dry deciduous forests, scrub lands, semi-desert, rocky terrain of both moderate elevation hills and lowland plains. Hides in insect holes, cracks, under dense leaf litters buried in soil, loose soil filled with cavities & cracks, loose root of plants etc.
Natural History: 
Dumeril's Black-headed is a nocturnal and crepuscular species of terrestrial activity. Locomotion quick and typical serpentine. Behavior non-offensive, alert and quick to escape. Always try to hide in narrow places on threatening. No particular behavior is seen as a defensive or aggressive response. Oviparous. Lays up to 5 eggs under undisturbed leaf litters, small holes, loose roots of plants etc.
Feeds on small snakes, skinks, small geckos; juveniles feeds on termites and larvae also.
Road kill mortality and killing due to misidentification with venomous snake Slender Coral are most common threats.
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