Travancore Kukri Snake ( Oligodon travancoricus Beddome, 1877 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Oligodon travancoricus (Beddome, 1877)
Regional Names: 
Kannada: 
ಟ್ರಾವನ್ಕೋರ್ ಕುಕ್ರಿ ಹಾವು
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
Found in south of Palghat Gap of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Type locality: South Travancore Hills, Kerala.
Family: 
Description: 

Can grow upto 51cm.

Head small, indistinct from neck. Top of the head with black color chevron shaped marking from prefrontals to end of it which usually remain connected with a narrow streak between eyes. Parietals usually have one-one closely placed whitish spots. Small eyes have rounded pupil.
Body short, moderately stout and covered with glossy smooth scales. Dorsal ground color grayish-brown with blackish-brown bands margined with white, broader on top and tapers on flank. Between conspicuous bands very faint bands also present throughout.
Underside including ventrals and subcaudals densely marked with irregularly arranged rectangular black patches on yellow-green ground color.

Scalation
Head: 
Supralabial 6-7; 3rd & 4th in contact with eyes, 6 may not in labial border; loreal absent; posterior nasal elongated and may touch preocular; anterior temporal 1.
Dorsal: 
Smooth scales in 17 rows.
Ventral: 
150-155; not angulated laterally; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
31-39, paired. Hemipenis extends till 9th caudal plate, not forked.
Habitat: 
Found in high elevations (above 800 m) of evergreen and semi-evergreen forests.
Natural History: 
Usually nocturnal and terrestrial. Can show activity at day time also. Hides in dense leaf litters, rocky patches, under wood logs etc. Behavior shy, inoffensive and usually tries to escape on catching attempt. Nothing specific is known about its reproduction but likely to be similar with other Kukri Snakes of Western Ghats.
Diet: 
Feeds on egg yolk of soft shelled eggs of reptiles and amphibians. Also feeds on small lizards.
Threats: 
Travancore Kukri is one the most range restricted snake species of India. It is found only in selective hills of southern Western Ghats. Any disturbance in structure of these hills will lead this species towards declining population. Apart from this road kill mortality is another direct threat to it.
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