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Slithering for its existence - The Indian smooth snake

Slithering for its existence – The Indian smooth snake

Endemic to the dry and arid plains of central-western India, the Indian Smooth Snake makes a rare photo appearance in our pages.

On the evening of February 12, 2014, I got a rescue call for a snake. I am the member of a Nature Club in Surat and have been actively participating in rescuing wildlife from in and around the city, for some time now. It was late in the evening when I reached the place, expecting to find a common species. But I was pleasantly surprised to find something I had never seen before. Since it was dark and this was most probably a new snake for me, I took it along with me, so that I could confirm its identity. My guess proved to be correct later on as the snake turned out to be an Indian Smooth Snake!

The Indian Smooth Snake (Coronella Brachyura) is a rare species endemic to western-central India. As the name suggests, the snake’s body is smooth and shiny, and usually greyish to brown in colour. At first glance, the snake looks very similar to the juvenile of an Indian Rat Snake or the Checkered Keelback, but on closer observance, whitish edges to the scales on the anterior part of the body and a reddish tongue can be seen. The pupils are round like most other diurnal Colubrid snakes. Still, the snake has been known to be more active during the evening period. Although not much is known about the snake’s ecology, it has generally been found in rocky plains and scrubs forest, often under stone piles. The snake is calm and rarely bites, but constricts into a spring on provocation and will strike anxiously towards an attacker if not left alone.

Two days later, a couple of my colleagues from the Nature Club Surat found another Indian Smooth Snake from the very same location. This snake is not very well documented and is easily confused with several common species. Hence, it may not be as rare as it is believed to be.

 

Read also: Revisiting the moments in the wild 


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About the Author /

A civil engineer by profession, Bhautik has an avid interest in nature and wildlife, especially reptiles. He has been involved with the rescue and release of reptiles for many years and is also a passionate wildlife photographer.

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