First record of the “Bella” Ratsnake for India from Fakim WLS, Nagaland

by Shashank Dalvi
“Bella” or Burmese Rat Snake
Shashank Dalvi
It is not surprising to discover lesser known species from this part of India.

As part of a Nagaland bird survey, explorers Shashank Dalvi and Ramki Sreenivasan stumbled upon this beautiful snake close to Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary above Pungro town in Eastern Nagaland close to the Myanmar border. It turned out to be new species for India — “Bella” Rat Snake (Maculophis bella bella). Bella means beautiful in Italian.

This small snake (2½-3 feet, 80-90 cm in length) appears to be a montane species found in higher elevations like 1500 – 2000m. This species is known from northern Myanmar and western Yunnan province, China.

It is not surprising to discover lesser known species from this part of India as the region is poorly studied. The team, in the same survey, reported three new species of Laughing Thrushes as well as many other birds poorly known in India.

About the author

Shashank Dalvi
Shashank Dalvi is an alumnus of the MSc. Wildlife Biology and Conservation Program (NCBS, WCS-India) and currently works with the Centre for Wildlife Studies, Bangalore.

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