Striped Kukri Snake ( Oligodon brevicauda Günther, 1862 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Oligodon brevicauda (Günther, 1862)
Regional Names: 
English: 
Shorthead Kukri Snake
Photographs: 
KMTR, Agasthyamalai Hills
Distribution: 
Found in selective hill ranges of lower Western Ghats which include Anaimalai, Nilgiri and Travancore Hills of Kerala and Tamil Nadu states. Type locality: Anamalai Hills, Southern Western Ghats, Kerala-Tamil Nadu States, India. Anaimalai, Nilgiri and Ashambu Hills of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Venom Type: 
N/A
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Combination of: Striped body, 15 mid body rows and absence of internasals are confirmatory characters for this species' identification. 

Description: 

Length- Can grow upto 56cm.

Head small, indistinct from neck. Head color darker than rest of body with indistinct shades or dark chevron mark. Usually temporal have oblique streaks which reach to neck. Small eyes have rounded pupil.
Body short, moderately stout and covered with shiny smooth scales. Dorsal reddish-brown with three light color stripes from neck to end of the tail, one light stripe along vertebra, one dark on each side of it having two scale coverage which usually remain marked with paired black spots at regular interval; third and fourth stripes of one row breadth and of light and dark colored respectively.
Underside and first two dorsal rows reddish or grey; ventral scales densely marked with irregularly arranged rectangular patches of black color.

Scalation
Head: 
Internasals absent; supralabial 7; 3rd & 4th in contact with eyes; loreal absent; posterior nasal in contact with preocular; anterior temporal 1.
Dorsal: 
Smooth scales in 15 rows.
Ventral: 
158-173; not angulated laterally; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
25-29, paired. Hemipenis extends till 29th caudal plate, not forked.
Habitat: 
Found in moderate and high elevations (above 400 m) of evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests.
Natural History: 
Activity both crepuscular and nocturnal, and semi-fossorial. Behavior usually inoffensive but on threatening or cornering it throws some portion of forebody into loose loops with neck inflated laterally and keeps the head above ground and may strike on getting closer.
Diet: 
Diet is likely to be similar with other Kukri Snakes which includes egg yolk of soft shelled eggs and amphibian eggs.
Threats: 
This is also one of the most range restricted endemic species found in southern Western Ghats. These hills are used for many high elevation crops for commercial use and thus habitat destruction is one future threat to this species.
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