Indian Smooth Snake ( Wallophis brachyurus Günther, 1866 )

  • Sharebar
Name
Scientific Name: 
Wallophis brachyurus (Günther, 1866)
Regional Names: 
Gujarati: 
સુવાળો સાપ
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
Found in most of the dry and arid plains of Central-western India up to Indore (currently considered to be northern most limit of this species in Madhya Pradesh state), almost whole of dry Maharashtra (excluding Western Ghats and its highlands), dry parts of Central-eastern and southern Gujarat and recently reported in Rajnandgaon of Chattisgarh. Likely to be occur in Telangana also.
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Morphologically it can be identified by checking elongated head, grayish-brown dorsal body sometimes bearing darker stripes on side dorsal and shorter tail.

Description: 

Average length- 50cm.
Maximum length- 77cm.

Dorsal -
Body slender with shiny smooth scales of same size. Dorsal color brown, grayish-brown or olive brown. All mid and front body scales have whitish edge. Side dorsal color usually darker than top with very first line of whitish color; Gujarat specimen have almost blackish color on side. Posterior body pattern-less and have uniform brown or olive brown color.

Ventral -
Belly entirely glossy white. Subcaudal scales paired in zigzag manner.

Head -
Head elongated; slightly broader than neck. Upper lip color whitish mostly. Blackish line starts from eyes to nasal which covers preocular, loreal, nasal and supralabials. Eyes have rounded pupil; tongue color reddish.

Tail -
Length little shorter than typical snakes; ends with pointed tip.

Scalation
Head: 
Supralabial 8; 4th & 5th in contact with eyes; preocular 1; loreal 1; postocular 2; temporals 2+2.
Dorsal: 
Subequal smooth scales in 23: 23: 19 rows.
Ventral: 
200-224; rounded; anal undivided.
Sub Caudal: 
46-53; paired.
Habitat: 
Lives in semi-deserts and scrub areas of Central-western India (not in deserts). Habitat includes ignored lands scattered with xeric vegetation (thorny deciduous forest), rocks and various size mounds. In most of the parts of its range it is confined with urban settlement.
Natural History: 
Activity of Smooth Snake is assumed to be diurnal but most of the individuals seen at night from evening. Prefers ground for foraging but can be seen at heights of scrub plantations and houses. Locomotion moderate, behavior alert and usually docile. On threatening it throws forebody into loose loops and keep it above the ground but bites rarely. Oviparous. Female lays up to 6 eggs in crevices of rocks and mounds during whole of summer. New born individuals seen from late summer to starting of monsoon.
Diet: 
Feeds actively on geckos, skinks and small rodents.
Threats: 
As this is an uncommon snake and rarely seen around humans, intentional killing is not much affecting its population. Similarly due to its very general habitat (dry and ignored lands) human disturbance appears to be not much effective threat. However in many parts of its range road kill mortality in high number is regularly observed.
Look Alike
Authors & Contributors: 
Tags: