Common Wolf Snake (Lycodon aulicus)
Hindi- Ganeta, Garetha, Kaily, Jalebi saap, Chitti saap. | Bangla- Kaurialla |
Malyalam- Vellivarayan pampu, Chuvar pampu, Chennay Thalayan |
Marathi- Kavdya |
Gujrati- Kodio, Kodhio |
Kannad- Kattege hula
Distribution - All over the India.
Status - Very common.
Length- General Length is 60cm approx but can grow up to 83cm.
Dorsal body- Body slender shaped with smooth & shiny scales of Brown, Reddish-Brown, Blackish, Shiny Gray or light Brown. Yellow or Yellowish-White with fine Blackish border bands or bars present on whole dorsal body starting from neck and become faint on tail region. These bands are narrow at top side of dorsal and become wider on side. Juveniles have prominent bands on whole body than adults. Number of bands could be from 10 to 25. Very rarely bands could e absent from whole body.
Ventral body- Belly color Glossy White mostly. Subcaudal scales paired in Zigzag manner, their color is same like ventral scales always.
Head- Head is flattened, broader than neck and covered with smooth and very shiny scales, broader than neck. Whitish or Yellow color band exist mostly and may be absent sometimes. Eyes entirely Black. Tongue color Pinkish-Red entirely.
Tail- Smooth scales with or without bands. Tail length is normal as typical range with pointed tip. Color almost same like rest of dorsal body.
Common Wolf vs Common Krait - Both are often mistaken.
- Brown or Blackish body with broad White or pale yellow color bands.
- To distinguish between Common Krait and Wolf, we should check the top dorsal row having Hexagonal large size scales in kraits and nothing special in Wolf snakes.
- Wolf snakes do have the white band on the neck & head joint which is usually absent in Kraits.
- The bands on the body of wolf snake are single and the bands on kraits are paired.
- Wolf snakes ( in most cases) have a white band on their head-neck joint region, which is absent in Kraits.
- Head of a wolf snake is flat with a narrow neck. The Kraits head is blunt and the neck is not distinguishable.
Looks like- Common Krait, Travancore Wolf snake, Bridal Snake , juvenile Banded Racer etc.
Head- 9 Supralabials; 3rd to 5th touches eyes; 1 Preocular; 1 Loreal; 2 Postocular; Temporals 2+2 or 2+3.
Dorsal- Smooth scales with 17-17 in front and mid body and 15-15 on posterior body.
Ventral- 172-214; Anal divided.
Subcaudal- 57-80; always divided in Zigzag manner.
Behavior- Common Wolf is a nocturnal species and actives only during night time. It remain hidden in dark and silent places including cracks on wall, gap between bricks and wood, rocks, electric board, brick piles etc during day time. Lives in old houses, piles of stones and bricks, under rocks, cracks between rocks, wood caves etc. Wolf snakes are good climbers and easily climb on walls, wiring lines, door frames etc... They feed on Geckos, lizards and skinks.
Reproduction and its mating period during starting of winter in South india and summer in North India. Their hatchings observe during December to September last. Female lays 4-7 eggs.
Albino - Common Wolf snake - Click to see large image
Commonly found even in urban areas. They prey on geckos and lizards which are found in these areas. During rescue situations, they were found inside cracks on wall, gap between wood and wall (doors and windows) inside electronic items, electric boards, doormats and all those things which could help them to hide after their meal.
It’s a nervous species and bite repeatedly when handled. On provocation they make a tight coil and hide its head inside the coil and remain in this “snake ball” until its sure about its safety. On further disturbance it creeps in little jumping manner keeping the head above the ground.
Common wolf is the one of the most common species (in top 5) in rescues in all over the India. It is totally harmless & non venomous small species and prefers human houses due to presence of their most favorite food (Geckos). Releasing them in the wild is not a suitable option and the rescuer should take all effort to release the snake in the same area; if possible at the same location after convincing the people that it is a harmless snake and it is safe to have a non-venomous snake in that area, rather than having a venomous which may take over the habitat due to the presence of favorable conditions.