Kukri snakes are a part of the genus Oligodon of the species of Colubridae found mostly in central and tropical Asia. This genus Oligodon is known usually as Kukri snakes and has more than 70 related and recognized species in the same genus. These snakes range all over Asia, with more than 20 species living in states which range in most parts of India. Although most species of the snakes survive on different bird and reptiles' eggs, some of the Oligodon family members are also known to use their sharp teeth to feed on the internal organs of toads. Read on to find out more about this!
The name Kukri is derived from a Nepalese knife. The knife is curved and broad, similar to the hind teeth of the Oligodon species which are broad, flattened, and curved. The rear-fanged Oligodon species is not fatal for humans as they are non-venomous, but the bites from these species can be seriously injurious and can bleed extensively due to their sharp enlarged teeth in the back of their mouths and also the presence of Duvernoy's gland, which has anticoagulants.
The most seen kukri snakes in the world are the Common kukri snake/Banded kukri (Oligodon arnensis) and the Small banded kukri snake (Oligodon fasciolatus). Snakes found all over the world have a lot of different features differentiating them. Read about the King Brown snake and the King Rat snake, the kings of the snakes, here on the Kidadl website.
What do they prey on?
Lizards, frogs, and small rodents, eggs of birds and reptiles
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
How long are they?
30-59 in (0.8-1.5 m)
How tall are they?
What do they look like?
Different colored curved, scaled body
Dry shiny scales
What are their main threats?
Humans, habitat loss
What is their conservation status?
Vulnerable and Least Concern
Where you'll find them
Agricultural lands, gardens, and urban settlements
Many Asian countries
Common kukri - Oligodon arnensis
Kukri Snake Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a Kukri Snake?
These species are a type of colubrid snake.
What class of animal does a Kukri Snake belong to?
This species is found in the class of Reptilia in the Animal kingdom.
How many Kukri Snakes are there in the world?
The exact population of this extraordinary species of Asia is not known currently. There is no immediate danger to this fauna and is found abundant in the countries.
Where does a Kukri Snake live?
These species are found exclusively in central and tropical Asia. The common kukri snake is found in India and its neighboring countries of Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The Small banded Kukri Snake, Oligodon fasciolatus, is found in Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Oligodon fasciolatus is also found in Cambodia and Laos. Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore are famous for the striped kukri snakes. The kukri snake by Günther is found in most of the countries of Asia, including India, China, and Vietnam. All other related species of this genus are also distributed across Asia and live in different natural habitats.
What is a Kukri Snake's habitat?
The Kukri snakes are nocturnal and mostly found in termite mounds, caves, crevices, tree holes, and urban settlements. The snakes usually live in external habitats. The Oligodon fasciolatus are particularly shy creatures and found inside homes too.
Who do Kukri Snakes live with?
These snakes are found in homes apart from their external homes. They live in urban areas among people too.
How long does a Kukri Snake live?
In captivity, these snakes are known to live for more than 30 years. In the wild, the age can vary from 15-30 years depending on the threat to their lives.
How do they reproduce?
The average clutch size of the species is three to nine eggs per season. Mating usually starts between May-July. Females lay the eggs in the open and they hatch in August-September. This time period is for the common kukri snake. It is similar for others too.
What is their conservation status?
Most of the species like the common kukri and the O. fasciolatus are kept as Least Concern, however, there are few exceptions that are either Vulnerable or Endangered at the moment. The O. meyerinkii native to the Philippines is Endangered.
Kukri Snake Fun Facts
What do Kukri Snakes look like?
Like the purple spotted kukri snake, the color variations and patterns in this species are diverse in their range. However, the striped kukri snake is very different from the others with longitudinal stripes of dorsal reddish or orange stripe, and several brown or greenish lateral stripes on a black body.
The common kukri has a smooth scaled slender body and head. One rostral scale goes up to the upper surface of the head. The body is brown in color and it has distinct black/dark brown stripes. The head has a different-shaped marking of the same color.
The South Asian variant, O. fasciolatus or the small banded kukri, is light brown to gray-brown in color and has dark-colored crossbands, edged in black. Towards the head, the bands point upwards. There is an oblique band passing through the eye in the head.
All of the species have round pupils and cylindrical bodies.
How cute are they?
Shiny scales on snakes make them look very beautiful and elegant.
How do they communicate?
Snakes usually communicate by pheromones and making sounds. They can also communicate by moving their bodies.
How big is a Kukri Snake?
The average length of these species ranges from 30-59 in (0.8-1.5 m). The striped kukri snake is smaller at about 27 in and is found exclusively in Malaysia, Singapore, Phillippines, and Indonesia.
How fast can a Kukri Snake move?
Kukri snakes are pretty quick when confronted with or in any imminent danger.
How much does a Kukri Snake weigh?
The weight varies in this species of fauna within its different subspecies.
What are their male and female names of the species?
The male and female species of the genus are not given different names. They are known commonly as Kukri snakes.
What would you call a baby Kukri Snake?
A baby kukri snake is called a hatchling or juvenile.
What do they eat?
Kukri snakes are known to sustain in harsh habitats due to their ability to possess a vast diet. Usually, kukri snakes feed on bird eggs and other reptile eggs. The shape of the teeth allows them to break down eggshells easily for digestion. They are also known to feed on lizards, frogs, and small rodents.
In an extensive research done earlier, a gruesome fact was found about the kukri snake. Some species including the Oligodon fasciolatus, pierce the abdomens of toads, keep the prey alive for few hours and swallow the organs by tearing them apart.
The Ocellated Kukri snake was seen to eat Duttaphrynus melanostictus, which is the toxic Asian Black-spotted toad. Even though the toad is poisonous, the snakes were seen to exhibit the same nature as the other species by piercing the abdomen. Also, the Ocellated kukri snake was seen to swallow the whole Duttaphrynus melanostictus in the end.
Are they poisonous?
The kukri snake bite is not poisonous, but the shape and sharpness of the teeth make the victim bleed a lot.
Would they make a good pet?
Although kept in captivity, these snakes are not meant to be kept as pets.
Did you know...
They are found in holes inside trees and houses.
Types of Kukri Snake
Upon extensive research, it has been found that there are over 70 known and recognized species of the Kukri snake. Some most known among these species are - the Common Kukri Snake/Banded kukri snake (Oligodon arnensis), Ornate Kukri Snake (Oligodon ornatus), Small banded kukri snake (Oligodon fasciolatus), Purple kukri snake/Brown kukri snake (Oligodon purpurascens), Golden Kukri Snake/Günther 's kukri (Oligodon cinereus), Coral kukri snake (Oligodon kheriensis), and Striped Kukri Snake - (Oligodon taeniatus).
Why are they called Kukri Snakes?
The name Kukri snake is given to these snakes because the enlarged hind teeth of this species are shaped like the Gorkha knife used by the Nepalese people. The Kukri snake teeth are curved and broad like the knives and hence the name was given.
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