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Striped Kukri Snake

01 May

Oligodon taeniatus

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus) juvenile

Juvenile Striped Kukri Snake flipped under log in Chatuchak

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus) head view

Head shot of Striped Kukri Snake from above

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus) ventral view

Ventral view of Striped Kukri Snake

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus)

Tail of juvenile Striped Kukri Snake, raised in defensive position

Oligodon taeniatus   Michael Cota Rangsit_files

Striped Kukri Snake found in Rangsit (photo courtesy of Michael Cota)

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus)

Striped Kukri Snake found in Vietnam (photo courtesy of Scott Trageser) http://www.naturestills.com

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus)

Tail shot of Striped Kukri Snake (photo courtesy of Scott Trageser) http://www.naturestills.com

Striped Kukri Snake Oligodon taeniatus ventral view

Striped Kukri Snake in Sisaket Province (photo courtesy of Wolfgang Wuster)

Striped Kukri Snake (Oligodon taeniatus)

Striped Kukri Snake found in bathroom in Payao Province (Photo courtesy of Phillip Orchard)

View from above showing dorsal stripe and head markings (Photo courtesy of Phillip Orchard)

English name: Striped Kukri Snake (aka “Four-lined Kukri Snake”)
Scientific name: Oligodon taeniatus
Thai name: Ngu Ngod Thai

Description: To 45 cm long. This small snake gets its name from the light stripe that runs down its back, which is bordered on either side by a dark line. It also has a thin dark stripe on each side of its body. Background coloration is grey to brown. Underbelly is pink or orangish-red with black markings. There is a dark line that goes through both eyes and three dark blotches positioned on top of the head behind the eyes.

Similar Species: Banded Kukri Snake has transverse blotches rather than stripes and lacks the pattern of dark blotches on the head.
Indo-Chinese Sand Snake has stripes on the side that are lighter than the back, lacks the characteristic dark markings on top of the head, and has a yellow underbelly.
Asian Water Snakes Homalopsinae have thicker bodies and broader heads.

Habitat: Lowland forest, where it will usually hide under stones, wood, or leaves. Can often be found in parks and gardens.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control lizard populations in Bangkok, especially small skinks. Also eats frogs and the eggs of birds and other reptiles. Provides food for larger snakes and monitors.

Danger to humans: No danger to humans – is small and has no venom.

Conservation status and threats: No known conservation threats.

Interesting facts: As a defensive display the Striped Kukri Snake will raise and curl its tail to reveal the red coloration underneath. This may be an attempt to mimic the display of southeast Asian coral snakes.

Kukri snakes have teeth that are specially modified to slice open bird, lizard, turtle, and snake eggs, which form an important part of their diet.

References:
Thai Biodiversity: Oligodon taeniatus
The Reptile Database: Oligodon taeniatus
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia

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2 responses to “Striped Kukri Snake

  1. T. Lutz

    March 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Thanks for the website bud, Found this snake in my garden in Battambang, Cambodia and your photo of the juvenile matched it exactly

     

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