In India I’ve been able to replicate the urban herping that I had perfected in Bangkok. In fact, next to Bangkok, Kolkata is my favorite place in Asia for city herping.

Like any city, some geckos and frogs can survive in any niche they find. Huge house geckos were on the walls everywhere.

Yellow-Green House Gecko (Hemidactylus flaviviridis) kolkata india
Yellow-Green House Gecko (Hemidactylus flaviviridis)

On occasion I found a smaller house gecko species under rocks and artificial cover in the parks. This used to be known as “Brooke’s House Gecko”, but a recent study revealed that to be a complex of different species.

Kushmore House Gecko (Hemidactylus kushmorensis) kolkata india
Kushmore House Gecko (Hemidactylus kushmorensis)

You would think the water might be too polluted for amphibians, but there are hardy frogs that can be found even in the middle of the city. Some alleyways had moister stone piles that revealed toads:

Common Indian Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus) kolkata india
Common Indian Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus)

A drainage area had Indian Bullfrogs at night.

 Indian Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus)  kolkata india
Indian Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus)

And these cricket frogs were breeding in rain puddles.

 Some cricket frog species, perhaps Fejervarya nepalensis or syhadrensis  kolkata india
Some cricket frog species, perhaps Fejervarya nepalensis or syhadrensis

More diversity came when I visited the Maidan, the huge open space in the middle of Kolkata. First I found an above-ground outlet with bullfrogs on the surface

 Indian Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus)  kolkata india
Indian Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus)

And then a pond where early in the morning, a resident snake lay basking.

 Checkered Keelback (Xenochrophis piscator)  kolkata india
Checkered Keelback (Xenochrophis piscator)

habitat shot

A gardened area of the park had a young juvenile of the same species under a board:

Checkered Keelback (Xenochrophis piscator) kolkata india
Checkered Keelback (Xenochrophis piscator)

One less-frequented edge of the park had a basking lizard:

Oriental Garden Lizard (Calotes versicolor) kolkata india
Oriental Garden Lizard (Calotes versicolor)

My favorite find came as I was looking under rocks in front of a goat herder. Under one rock I lucked upon a wolf snake!

Indian Wolf Snake (Lycodon aulicus) kolkata india
Indian Wolf Snake (Lycodon aulicus)

Habitat shot

kolkata maidan

At a guesthouse in another part of the city I found a few more lizard species:

Bark Gecko (Hemidactylus leschenaulti) kolkata india
Bark Gecko (Hemidactylus leschenaulti)
 Spiny-tail House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus)  kolkata india
Spiny-tail House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus)
Many-lined Sun Skink (Eutropis multifasciata) kolkata India
Many-lined Sun Skink (Eutropis multifasciata)

The next few times I went to Kolkata, I stayed in a little ashram on the outskirts of the city. And THAT is where the snake finds got really crazy.

(click on Page 2 to see which EIGHT snake species I found there)