Twin-Spotted Wolf Snake ( Lycodon jara Shaw, 1802 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Lycodon jara (Shaw, 1802)
Regional Names: 
English: 
Yellow-Speckled Wolf Snake
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
In India its found in North-east region, Odisha and above Gangetic plains up to Dehradun (Uttrakhand).
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

It can be easily identified by checking uniform speckling of yellowish spots on dorsal body giving overall appearance of greenish-yellow dotted on dark color dorsal. 

 

Description: 

Average length- 40cm.
Maximum length- 55cm.

Dorsal -
Body slender with smooth & shiny scales of dark brown, dark chocolate brown or jet black with purple ting. Each dorsal scale marked with two laterally arranged patches of yellowish-green color till the end of the tail which gives overall appearance of yellowish-green dotted snake. In new born individuals these dots or patches on scales are of whitish or light yellow and not vibrant.

Ventral -
Belly glossy white without any pattern. Subcaudal scales paired in zig-zag manner.

Head -
Snout depressed, slightly broader than neck and covered with smooth and glossy scales. Color black greenish-yellow dust scattered in irregular manner. Upper lip color whitish. Eyes entirely black in appearance with vertically elliptical pupil. Tongue color pinkish-red.

Tail -
Covered with smooth scales with dorsal markings in small scale. Length normal as typical range with pointed tip.

Scalation
Head: 
Supralabials 8 or 9; 3rd to 5th in contact with eyes; loreal 1, in contact with internasals; preocular 1; postocular 2; temporals 1+2 or 2+3.
Dorsal: 
Smooth scales in 17:17:15 rows.
Ventral: 
167-188; not angulated laterally.
Sub Caudal: 
52-74; paired; anal divided.
Habitat: 
Remain hidden in narrow cracks, under heavy objects and under loose roots of plants during day time. Found in mixed and moist deciduous forests of Himalayan and North-east region. Lives mainly in rocky terrain, lands having cracks, human habitation etc. This is also confined in urban environment and modified habitats (gardens). Juveniles occasionally seen under the rock laid on the ground.
Natural History: 
Yellow-speckled Wolf Snake is a nocturnal species which shows activity both on ground and heights. Behavior shy and non-offensive. On provocation initially try to escape; later it makes coil or ball of whole body to hide its head under it as a defensive response. Oviparous. Female above 35cm approx lays 3-5 eggs in cracks, under loose root of vegetation, holes etc during summer to most of monsoon.
Diet: 
Feeds on skinks and small geckos.
Threats: 
General threats are killing due to misidentification. Because of its vibrant coloration people often assume it to be some venomous snake and try to kill it. Other threat is road kills during monsoon.
Authors & Contributors: