Striped Keelback ( Amphiesma stolata Linnaeus, 1758 )

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Scientific Name: 
Amphiesma stolata (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Names: 
ಪಟ್ಟೆ ಬೆನ್ನೇಣು ಹಾವು
પીત પટીત સાપ
Buff-Striped Keelback
Seetalati, Seeta ki lath, Hurhura
Theyyan Pampu, Padakooti, Daivathankutti
Mati biradi
Typical Blue colour form (forma typica). Kanha National Park, Madhya pradesh
Found in whole of Indian mainland including North and North-east states. Not found in Islands.
Characteristics for identification: 

Can be identified by carefully checking two yellow-brown stripes on body (more visible on posterior half) and yellowish color on head including underside. nderside. 


New born- 13-17cm.
Average length- 50cm.
Maximum length- 80cm.

Dorsal -
Body slender with pointed and highly keeled scales. Brownish back with continuous black bands exist which fuse to form blackish-brown posterior body. Two yellowish-brown stripes run longitudinally from neck to end of the tail where they become prominent; become very faint yellow when intersect with blackish bands.
Interscale color Blue in population of most of the parts of country (called forma typica variety); South India, Maharastra and some parts of North-east specimens bear red interscale color (called erythrostictus variety). These blue and red color appears clearly on provoking the snake.

Ventral -
Belly glossy white with reddish or grayish tint on side near dorsals; blackish dots may or may not be present on each side of ventrals.

Head -
Head pointed with smooth scales, broader than neck. Olive brown with bluish tint on top. Side of upper head and whole of under head pale yellow or brown. Upper lip marked with blackish edge on their posterior edge.

Tail -
Tail of typical length, with a pointed tip. Two yellowish stripes coming from dorsal body continues to tip. Subcaudal scales paired in zig-zag manner.

Supralabial 8 (occasionally 7), 3rd to 5th in contact with eyes; preocular 1; loreal 1; postocular 3.
Highly Keeled scales in 19 (17 or 20): 19: 17 rows.
118-161; anal mostly divided.
Sub Caudal: 
46-89; paired.
Habitat includes moist, mixed and dry deciduous forests, wetlands, grasslands of plains and moderate elevations. Lives in moist vegetation of agricultural lands, gardens, open forests etc. Hides in dense bushes, under leaf litters, grass, rocky cracks etc.
Natural History: 
Striped Keelback is a diurnal and terrestrial species which shows activity during day time of moderate temperature. Locomotion typical serpentine and moderate. Behavior shy and non-offensive. On threatening inflates its fore body and try to escape quickly. No specific display is observed to consider as aggressive response. Can bite in chew manner if handled or stressed for long time. It is assumed to be capable for mating throughout the year. Most of the new born seen from monsoon to late winters. Female lays up to 15 eggs in dense leaf litters, inside holes and guards them.
Feeds mainly on toads and frogs. Also feeds on small rodents.
Usually in most of the parts of country it is well known as a harmless and non-offensive species so people usually don't threat it. Maximum deaths of this species is done due to road kills. It is perhaps the most common non-venomous species coming under road kills in most of the parts of country. Other threats are loss of moist vegetation and decline in population of amphibians as its mainly a toad & frog feeder.
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