Indian Smooth Snake (Coronella brachyura)
English – Smooth Snake
Distribution - Almost all parts of Maharastra except coastal areas around Konkan, Southern parts of Gujrat (Surat, Valsad etc), Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, may not be found in North Karnataka.
Status - Uncommon (previously Rare).
Length- Adults measure approx. 45cm, but can grow up to 70+cm.
Dorsal body- - Body shape slender with shiny smooth scales of similar size. Dorsal body color brown or olive brown; Juveniles have a greyish tint. All mid and front body scales have a whitish edge. Side dorsal color usually darker than top with very first line of whitish color; specimens in Gujrat have almost blackish color on side. Posterior body patternless and has a uniform brown or olive brown color.
Ventral body- Belly entirely glossy white. Subcaudal scales paired in a zigzag manner.
Head-Head elongated and rounded; slightly broader than the neck. Upper lip color mostly whitish. Blackish line starts from eyes to nasal which covers preocular, loreal, nasal and supralabials. Eyes have a rounded pupil; tongue color reddish.
Tail- - Length little shorter than typical snakes; ends with a pointed tip.
Key characters for identification-
Look alikes- Banded Racer, Juvenile Cobra, Chekered Keelback, Rat Snake etc.
- Shiny and very smooth body of brown or grayish color.
- The snake is very simple and normal to look at, so previously ignored by local snake rescuers assuming it as juvenile Rat snake or Chekered Keelback.
Head- - 8 Supralabials; 4th & 5th touches eyes; 1 Preocular; 1 Loreal; 2 Postocular; Temporals 2+2.
Dorsal- Shiny smooth scales of same size, 23-23 in front and mid body while 19 in posterior body.
Ventral- 200-224; Anal undivided.
Subcaudal- -46-53; paired in Zig-zag manner.
Behavior- Smooth Snake is diurnal species but found to be more active in the evenings.
Mostly distributed in the arid regions of three states. Lives in rocky plains(record from MP), scrubs etc; may also live in piles of rocks. Prefers dry surroundings.
Feeds on geckos, skinks, insects and small rodents.
The snake is calm and rarely bites; on provocation constrict its body in a spring shape with head above the ground and can give fake attacks in jumpy manner.
Reproduction -Mating period is winter to the start of summer because most of juveniles are observed from April to June. The female lays a clutch of 2-6 eggs.
Most of the rescue cases observed during night time; can be found on heights and often found in roofs. As it is an uncommon species, it must be released very close to rescue site (less than 50mtr). Any kind of travelling and captivity attempts should be avoided.(Rescue information provided by Rahul Kamble, Latur).