Resurrection of a Montane Snake from Northeast India

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Amphiesma clerki was described as a species new to science by Frank Wall in 1925, based on a single snake collected by a Mr. Clerk from Sinlumkaba in Kachin State, Myanmar the previous year. 18 years later, Malcom Smith in his Fauna of British India, Volume III, identified that specimen as a different species, Amphiesma parallelum without any comment. This rendered Amphiesma clerki invalid, and was presumably due to the superficial similarity between both species as well as lack of … Read More

Growing Metros Choking Lakes

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Under the pretext of development, lakes in cities like Bangalore are getting choked by the construction of lake view apartments (as in the picture). There is an urgent need to preserve water bodies including the adjoining catchment areas, if we are to find some solution to our water crisis. The biodiversity of these ecosystems is also under threat. The checkered keelback (Xenochropis piscator) in the picture is living on the edge, literally.… Read More

Q: Often herpetofauna rescued from urban spaces cannot be reintroduced at the original home range due to human pressure. Is it advisable to release them in some other favorable ranges? What can be some other feasible measures? Have some studies been done on human-herpetofauna conflict in any indian city?

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Answer from Romulus Whitaker (who is herpetologist, wildlife conservationist and founder of the Madras Snake Park, The Andaman and Nicobar Environment Trust (ANET), and the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust):

In the case of a non-venomous snake, depending on the circumstances and attitudes of the people concerned, it is sometimes possible to convince them that removing a non-venomous snake may open up a niche for a venomous snake to move into, so it’s best to leave the (often rodent-eating) snake be … Read More

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

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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. … Read More

First record of the Jerdon’s Red Spotted Pit Viper for India from Eaglenest

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While conducting a herpetofaunal survey of Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh, India, during 2006-2008, four Indian researchers reported the first record of the Jerdon’s Red Spotted Pit viper (Protobothrops jerdoni xanthomelas). Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary has become famous for a string of discoveries, re-discoveries and range extensions.

This venomous sub-species of Jerdon’s Pit viper is an addition to the 278 plus species of snakes documented in the country. With the addition of this species, the number … Read More