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Krait (Bungarus caeruleus - common, Bungarus fasciatus - banded)



Krait (Bungarus caeruleus - common, Bungarus fasciatus - banded)
The krait is a highly venomous snake found in Southeast Asia. There are 13 species of krait, and two prominent types of krait in India. All kraits are nocturnal. The banded krait is readily identified by its alternate black and yellow bands. Kraits also have a row of hexagonal scales along the ridge of their back. The common krait is a slate-colored snake with thin white bands that are absent in the anterior part of its body. Since their fangs are not very long, kraits inject their venom by chewing. The poison affects mainly the nervous system. The common krait can reach a maximum length of 6 feet. The banded krait can reach 8 feet in length.



I. DESCRIPTION:

  • The krait is a highly venomous snake found in Southeast Asia. There are 13 species of krait, and two prominent types of krait in India. All kraits are nocturnal.
  • The banded krait is readily identified by its alternate black and yellow bands. Kraits also have a row of hexagonal scales along the ridge of their back.
  • The common krait is a slate-colored snake with thin white bands that are absent in the anterior part of its body.
  • Since their fangs are not very long, kraits inject their venom by chewing. The poison affects mainly the nervous system.
  • The common krait can reach a maximum length of 6 feet. The banded krait can reach 8 feet in length.
II. GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
  • The common krait inhabits India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • The common krait is essentially a snake of the plains, usually found in open country, cultivated areas and scrub jungles at low levels.
  • The banded krait is found mainly in northeastern India.
III. DIET:
  • Kraits feed on small mammals, lizards, frogs and toads.
  • They sometimes turn cannibalistic, and begin feeding exclusively on snakes, often including other kraits and the cobra.
IV. LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
  • The female lays from 6 to 12 eggs, which she deposits in holes in the ground or under leaves. She stays with the clutch until the young emerge.
V. SPECIAL NOTES/ADAPTATIONS:
  • Remarkably quiet and inoffensive in disposition, the krait bites only under severe provocation.
  • The venom of the banded krait is highly neurotoxic and estimated to be 16 times as potent as that of a cobra.



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