Common Wolf Snake ( Lycodon aulicus Linnaeus, 1758 )

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Scientific Name: 
Lycodon aulicus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Names: 
Vellivarayan pampu, Chuvar pampu, Chennay Thalayan
ಕಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಹಾವು
Indian Wolf Snake
Adult form of Western Maharashtra
Characteristics for identification: 

A small size snake found commonly inside human habitation. The is frequently misidentified with venomous snake Common Krait) General characters to distinguish between Common Wolf vs Common Kraits are:

  1. Short length (average length of 60cm to 84cm maximum) vs Medium length (average length of 100cm to nearly 150cm maximum)
  2. Light of brown color vs Glossy black with blue or purple tint.
  3. Yellowish bands vs Milky white bands.
  4. Broader bands vs Fine bands in paired or unpaired form.
  5. Bands on posterior body absent or very faint with most prominent bands on anterior side vs Bands on posterior body prominent than those found anteriorly.
  6. Head always bear a thick yellow collar vs head and much of neck region without any pattern or band.
  7. Absence of hexagonal scales on the top of dorsal (all dorsal scales of similar shaped) vs Presence of large size hexagonal scales on the top of dorsal which are much larger than adjacent scales.
  8. Paired subcaudal scales (scales under the tail) vs Unpaired (undivided like ventral scales) subcaudal scales

Average length- 50cm. Maximum length- 84cm. 

Dorsal -
Body slender with smooth & shiny scales of brown or brown mixed with greyish or reddish color. Yellow or yellowish-white bands present on whole dorsal body starting from neck and become faint on tail region; rarely absent entirely. Bands are narrow on the top of dorsal and become wider on side. Juveniles have prominent collar on neck which become narrow in adults. Number of bands varies between 10 to 25.

Ventral -
Belly glossy white without any pattern. Subcaudal scales paired in Zigzag manner.

Head -
Head flattened, broader than neck and covered with smooth and glossy scales. Whitish or yellow color collar exist in widely distributed form of this species. Eyes entirely black in appearance with vertically elliptical pupil. Tongue color pinkish-red.

Tail -
Covered with smooth scales with or without bands. Length normal as typical range with pointed tip.

9 Supralabials; 3rd to 5th in contact with eyes; 1 preocular; 1 loreal; 2 postocular; 2 temporals 2+2 or 2+3.
Smooth scales with 17:17:15 rows.
172-214; anal divided.
Sub Caudal: 
57-80; paired.
Common Wolf Snake is a nocturnal species and shows activity from late evening to early morning. Remain hidden in narrow cracks or under heavy objects during day time. Lives in variety of habitat including dense forest, rocky plains & hills, lands having cracks, human habitation etc. Prefers heights and dry surrounding for foraging and hiding. juveniles occasionally seen under the rock laid on the ground.
Feeds mainly on geckos; also feed on rodents and skinks.
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