Laotian Wolf Snake ( Lycodon laoensis Günther, 1864 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Lycodon laoensis (Günther, 1864)
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
In India it has been recorded from Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh only. Likely to be occur in similar forest range of North-east region.
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Morphologically it can be identified easily by checking black dorsal body banded with yellow and white bands. 

Description: 

Average length- 35cm.
Maximum length- 47.5cm.

Dorsal -
Body slender; covered with subequal, smooth & shiny scales of bluish-black or jet black color. About 25 bands prominently marked with yellow color on top and white on flank found from neck to end of the tail where they usually become narrow and have only yellow color. These bands are narrowest on top while broadest while touching the belly.

Ventral -
Belly color Glossy white without any pattern. Subcaudal scales paired in zig-zag manner, their color is same like ventral scales always.

Head -
Head broader than neck; covered with smooth and shiny scales. Eyes entirely black with vertically elliptical pupil. Well defined collar always present in this species which extends to posterior of upper lip.

Tail -
Smooth scales having yellow color narrow bands. Tail length is normal as typical range with pointed tip.

Scalation
Head: 
Supralabials 9 or 10; 3rd to 5th in contact with eyes; preocular 1, separates prefrontal from eyes; loreal 1, does not or slightly touches internasals; postocular 2; temporals 2+3.
Dorsal: 
Smooth scales in 17: 17: 15 rows.
Ventral: 
163-187; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
60-76; always divided in zig-zag manner.
Habitat: 
Distributed in variety of forests including grasslands, dipterocarp savannah, mixed and moist deciduous forests, semi-rainforest etc. Found in both dense and open forest of both hills (3000ft) and plains. Hides under derbies, tree bark at heights, tree holes, cracks, small animal holes etc.
Natural History: 
Laotian Wolf Snake is a nocturnal species which shows activity from ground to heights (up to 30ft) with excellent climbing tendency. Behavior shy, alert and usually non-offensive. On threatening prefers to escape but of further disturbance it makes coil of body with head under it. Oviparous. Female lays up to 5 eggs in narrow places like holes, cracks, under heavy objects, cavities of woods etc. during summer months.
Diet: 
Feeds on geckos, skinks, frogs, small rodents etc. as preferred diet. Occasionally takes insects and earthworms also.
Threats: 
No specific or serious threat in India are known as it is restricted to dense forests of far North-east region only.
Authors & Contributors: