Dussumier's Water Snake ( Dieurostus dussumieri Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854 )

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Scientific Name: 
Dieurostus dussumieri (Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854)
Regional Names: 
Kerala Mud Snake
Coastal plains of Kerala, from Malappuram to Neyyar river. Confirmed records from Ernakulam, Malappuram, Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram districts. Probably found in southernmost limits of Tamil Nadu also.
Venom Type: 

New born- 22.5cm.
Average- 60cm.
Maximum- 92cm.

Body stout, thick and robust. Covered with smooth scales of rhomboidal shape. Dorsal and tail reddish-brown, glossy brick red or olive brown with blue ting. Three distinct black stripes run along the body from neck to tail. Top stripe may be discontinuous while side ones stripes may be faint. First 5-6 dorsal rows upto lateral stripes bear similar color to belly.

Ventral –
Belly creamy white or deep ochre orange with three black stripes. Median line serrated which may be faint near head and before anal.

Head –
Head slightly longer than breadth; broader than neck; snout rounded. Eyes with vertically elliptical pupil. Nostrils and eyes at the upper level of head. Top of head similar to dorsal color. Upper lip bears color similar to belly.

Tail –
Short and thick tail ends with pointed tip. Color similar to dorsal. Subcaudal scales paired. A median serrated line stars from anal and reaches to tip.

Rostral broader than high, triangular; nasal cleft extends to loreal; internasals 2, in contact with each other, not in contact with loreal; supralabial 8-9, 4th-5th in contact with eyes; sometimes small triangular scales present between 4th, 5th and 6th scales; 7th or 8th horizontally divided; loreal single, squarish; in contact with 2nd or 1st-3rd supralabial; preocular 1, postocular 2, temporal 1+2 or 1+3.
Smooth, non-imbricate scales in 27: 27: 23 rows.
142-151, narrow, angulated laterally, anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
27-40, paired.
Found in costal plains of south India (Kerala and Tamil Nadu). Choose marshy substratum of water-bodies, stagnant ponds and nearby aquatic vegetation like wetland rushes and water hyacinths as habitat.
Natural History: 
Nocturnal and aquatic. Prone activity seen during low light of evening to night in habitat. Behavior usually non-offensive but bites on mishandling which causes mild swelling sometimes. Viviparous. Breeding occurs during June-July months with gestation period for 5-6 months.
Feeds on various fishes such as Anabas., Catla., Channa., Labeo., Puntius etc.
As this species is very narrowly distributed and known from few localities, habitat destruction will be one significant cause of population decrease. Many individuals often come in fishing net and got injured or killed.
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