Günther’s Vine Snake ( Ahaetulla dispar Günther, 1864 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Ahaetulla dispar (Günther, 1864)
Regional Names: 
Kannada: 
ಗುಂತರ್ ಬಳ್ಳಿ ಹಾವು
Photographs: 
Günther’s Vine Snake -Ahaetulla dispar in natural habitat image
Distribution: 
Found in hills (up to 8000ft) of Tamilnadu and Kerala. Recorded from Anaimalai, High Wavys, Nilgiri, Palni hills and Cardamom hills of these states.
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Morphologically it looks close to Bronze-headed Vine Snake (A. perroteti) but can be differentiated from later by checking usually 2 (or 1) loreal scales which are absent in other Vine Snakes. Also it grows much larger than A. perroteti.

Description: 

Hatchlings- 7-9cm.
Maximum length- 78.8cm.

Dorsal -
Body long and slender. Scales smooth, long and obliquely arranged. Dorsal color bright green or brownish-green with black and white interscale color.

Ventral -
Belly yellowish or greenish-brown with a white line running along the edge of ventral scales. Subcaudal scales paired in zigzag manner.

Head -
Head elongated, broader than neck; snout pointed but shorter than most of Vine Snakes; rostral appendages absent. Upper lip color (of supralabials) depends on dorsal and ventral color and always lighter. Oval shape eyes have horizontal pupils.

Tail -
Long and slender tail ends with a pointed tip.

Scalation
Head: 
Supralabial 8; 5th in contact with eyes, 4th divided into supralabial and 1 or 2 presubocular; 1 or 2 loreal (rarely absent); temporal 2+2 or 2+3.
Dorsal: 
Smooth scales in 15:15:13 oblique rows.
Ventral: 
136-156; anal usually divided.
Sub Caudal: 
78-119; paired.
Habitat: 
Habitat includes high elevation hills of rainforest. Found mostly in low to moderate height plantation of its range.
Natural History: 
Diurnal and arboreal. Shows activity mostly at low heights. Behavior shy but alert and usually non-offensive (much calm than other vine Snakes). On threatening throws few of fore body into loops, open its mouth and show black interscale color of forebody by inflating it to look bigger.
Diet: 
Feeds on lizards, frogs and other snakes.
Threats: 
Due to its restricted distribution in few hills of Western Ghats, habitat destruction of high elevation mountains will push this species to verge of extinction.
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