Red-necked Keelback ( Rhabdophis subminiatus Schlegel, 1837 )

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Scientific Name: 
Rhabdophis subminiatus (Schlegel, 1837)
Adult specimen from Kaziranga, Assam
Known localities include Assam, Sikkim and Chimpu
Venom Type: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Can be identified by having a red color nape on both juveniles and adults. Black checkered markings on olive-brownish body is present. juveniles shows a bright yellow collar seperating the blackish posterior head and red nape.


Length - 
Average length is 100cm but can grow up to around 130cm

Dorsal Body -
Body is slender with pointed highly keeled scales. Dorsal coloration is prominent in both juveniles and adults with olive-brownish color along with black checkered body markings. these patterns tend to disappear with the growth. Juveniles shows a bright red nape which is slightly discolored in adults. Nuchal glands to store toxins extracted from the diet are present from posterior head to neck . Interscale color black.

Ventral Body - 
Yellowish-white glossy ventral scales with a black dot on the edge of each ventral scale.

Head - 
Pointed head with smooth scales. relatively large eyes are present with round pupils. Slightly distinct from neck. Juvenile's head color ranges from grey to olive-green while adults shows a prominent olive-brownish head color

Tail - 
Pointed tail is present with typical length.

Supralabial: 8, 3rd to 5th in contact with eyes, Loreal: 1, Postocular: 3, Preocular: 1
parallel and keeled dorsal scales : 15, 17, 19
Sub Caudal: 
Paired Subcaudals : TBA
prefers to live around water sources like ponds, rivers and marshes. Also inhabits wet forests and paddy fields.
Natural History: 
Red necked Keelback is basically a diurnal terrestrial species. semi aquatic behavior is also recorded. Serpentine locomotion can be observed and a shy species. When threatened it tries to inflate the Nuchal glands by rising the head and wait calmly. oviparous snake, lays 5-17 eggs.
Mainly feeds on aquatic prey like frogs, toads and small fish. also feeds on lizards. juveniles primarily feeds on tadpoles and small frogs
Bite symptoms: 
  • Prolonged bleeding at bitten site
  • Headache
  • Melena
  • Oedema
  • Inflammation
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