Ahaetulla nasutus (Bonnaterre, 1790/Lacépède, 1789)
|Status||Common. In Western Ghats this is one of the commonest Colubrid.|
|Distribution||All over peninsular India including Southern Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttrakhand, Himachal. Also found in West Bengal to many parts of North East states. Not found above Gangetic Basin. Its Brown variety has been recorded in South India, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal etc.|
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Common Vine Snake (Ahaetulla nasutus)
Bengali - Laudoga | English- Green Vine Snake, Long-Nosed Vine Snake | Hindi- Suapankhi, Lata Saanp | Kannada - Hasiru haavu | Malayalam - Pachila paambu | Marathi - Harantol | Tamil - Pachchai paambu, Kannu kothi paambu |
Length- Adults measure 4ft approx but can grow upto 6.5ft.
Dorsal body- - Body slender, very thin and long with smooth scales. Dorsal colour faint or dark green(appears blue), yellowish green or yellow, pink and brown(in variety Isabellinus). Appears uniform coloured but on provocation interscalar colour of black and white appears which may appeas like narrow cross bars in a zig zag manner upto half of fore body. Sometimes white or yellow line in first dorsal row runs along the side dorsal from neck to tail.
Ventral body- Belly color shiny light green, yellow; sometime gray, reddish or pink. Belly scales are narrow and not good for creeping on ground but gives good grip in an arboreal surrounding.
Head- Head extremely pointed and looks like a sharp arrow or the beak of a bird; clearly broader than neck. Rostral scale very long and weak. Large eyes are brown coloured with a black coloured horizontal pupil. Tongue color whitish.
Tail- Like other arboreal snake this snake also has a very long and thin tail which ends with a pointed tip.
Variety Isabellinus- In this form of Green Vine whole dorsal body colour is brown with blackish dots in head scales, also belly colour dark brown most of the times. Such morph has been recorded from South India, Maharastra, Gujarat, Rajasthan etc.
Key characters for identification-
- Very long and thin body with a very pointed head with green range colour on the whole body.
- This species can be easily identified by its horizontal pupil which is speciality of this genus.
Head- 8 Supralabials; 5th touches eyes; 1 Preocular; 2 Pre Sub-ocular; No Loreal; Prefrontal touches Supralabials; 2 Postocular; Temporals usually 1+2 or 1+3.
Dorsal- Scales smooth with 15/15 in front body while 13 on posterior side.
Ventral- 166-207; Anal divided.
Subcaudal- 156-180(M) and 135-152(F); paired in zig zag manner.
Behavior- Common Vine is diurnal in activity. It is exclusively arboreal and spends its most of its life in trees and vegetation; rarely comes on ground. Lives in trees, dense vegetation and prefers greenery to get best camouflage. Feeds on rodents, lizards, frogs, small birds and other snakes including small sized venomous snakes also. Can stay in same position for few hours. Behavior is usually calm and slow, on threatening enlarge its fore body, open the mouth and show its fascinating gorgeous pink colored oral cavity to threaten its enemy and confuse it.
Reproduction - Mating period starts from starting of summer to the end of monsoon. Female directly gives birth to more than 20 young at a height; she simply drops them in plant tree branches where they go to safer places.
Rescue Situations -
Green Vine is one of the many green coloured snakes who rarely enters the human house, since they do not get any greenery for safety. It prefers to live at heights. Sometimes it will climb on the roof of the house but barely tries to enter. In such situation, rescuers must not bag the snake since its rostral scale (snout) of this species is very weak and is always in the danger of hurting in the process of bagging. The snake should be released as soon as possible in the same area where there is a proper vegetation and greenery.