Flora and Fauna

A VERY RARE SNAKE SPECIES DISCOVERED IN KARNATAKA

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Green Minute News

A rare species of snake – the Indian Egg Eater has been discovered in the newly declared Bukkapatna Chinkara Wildlife Sanctuary, Tumakuru district, Karnataka, India. Due to its unique and very specific diet, it has been declared as a Schedule-1 species under the Wildlife Protection Act.

The Indian Egg Eater Snake was recorded for the first time on August 2 in this protected area. In fact, this is the first record of this species in this region. Called as ‘Motte Bakshaka Havu’ in Kannada, Elachistrodon westermanni is a non-venomous and sometimes semi-venomous snake.

This snake was earlier believed to be found only in Bangladesh, Nepal, Central and northern parts of India. It usually inhabits dry deciduous forests and shrub forests. This snake is active during day as well as night.

This species only feeds on eggs of birds and does not eat rodents or amphibians. The average length of the snake is about two to two and a half feet. The snake species was recorded by Sachin, Manu Agnivamshi, a member of Wildlife Awareness and Reptile Conservation Organization (WARCO) and Akshay Herale, a naturalist from Chikkamagaluru.

Speaking to Green Minute, Manu Agnivamshi said, “There are no records of this species in Karnataka. It only feeds on eggs and therefore is found near bird habitats. Usually nocturnal, sometimes found during daytime and can be seen hiding in tree holes and rocky gaps. We found this snake in the night crossing the road – it was about two feet long. It is blackish with black bands while the belly side is entirely white.”

The discovery of this species in Karnataka, is indeed a welcome feature as Bukkapatna was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in May this year and is home to a variety of species – Leopard, Deccan Gazelle, Hyena, Sloth Bear and a host of others.