Western Kukri Snake ( Oligodon affinis Günther, 1862 )

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Name
Scientific Name: 
Oligodon affinis (Günther, 1862)
Regional Names: 
English: 
Malabar Brown Kukri Snake
Kannada: 
ಮಲೆ ಕುಕ್ರಿ ಹಾವು
Photographs: 
Distribution: 
From Agumbe (Karnataka) to southwards of Kerala and Tamil Nadu along Western Ghats. Type locality: Anamalai Hills, Southern Western Ghats, Kerala-Tamil Nadu States, India.
Family: 
Characteristics for identification: 

Can be superficially identified by checking fine dorsal bands which remain confined to upper dorsal surface and almost invisible on flanks. 

Description: 

Length- Can grow upto 40cm.

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 grey-brown with dark brown or gray fine bands which remain confined on top and may become indistinct in adults. Usually series of vertebral scales lighter than rest of dorsal and divides bars into symmetrical patches on both sides. Tail usually patternless or with very faint markings.
Underside including ventrals and subcaudals densely marked with irregularly arranged rectangular black patches on yellow-green ground color.

Scalation
Head: 
Supralabial 7; 3rd & 4th in contact with eyes; loreal usually absent; posterior nasal usually in contact with preocular; anterior temporal 1.
Dorsal: 
Smooth scales in 17 rows.
Ventral: 
128-145; not angulated laterally; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
20-36, paired. Hemipenis extends till 12th caudal plate, not forked.
Habitat: 
Found from Sea level to moderate elevations up to 500 m of evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests.
Natural History: 
Activity nocturnal and semi-fossorial but seen at low lighted daytime also in monsoon months. Behavior shy, inoffensive and barely attempts to bite on threatening. Hides in thick leaf litters, holes, under rocks, fallen logs etc. Female lays up to 4 eggs during summer to monsoon months
Diet: 
Feeds on small eggs and probably on small lizards also.
Threats: 
This is a range restricted endemic species which is found in selective zones of central-southern Western Ghats. Destruction of rainforest is first and like all other lesser fauna road kill mortality is second biggest threat to this species.
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