Banded Krait

The Banded Krait, Bungarus fasciatus, is a venomous snake found in India and Southeast Asia. It occurs in the whole of the Indo-Chinese sub-region, the Malaysian peninsula and archipelago of Southern China. It has been recorded from northeast India through Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and southern China to Malaysia and the main Indonesian islands of Borneo (Java and Sumatra), as well as Singapore. In India, it is generally found in the North-East. It has been recorded in Bihar and Orissa and as far south and west as Hyderabad, Awadh, the Godavari and Mahanadi valleys.

Banded kraits may be seen in a variety of habitats ranging from forests to agricultural lands. They inhabit termite mounds and rodent holes close to water, and often live near human settlement, especially villages because of their supply of rodents and water. They prefer the open plains of the countryside.

This snake is easily identified by its alternate black and yellow bands, its triangular body cross-section and the marked vertebral ridge consisting of enlarged vertebral shields along its body. The head is broad and depressed. The eye is black. It has arrow-head like yellow markings on its otherwise black head and has yellow lips, lore, chin and throat. It has been recorded to grow up to a length of 7 feet, but normally the maximum length encountered is 6 feet or less.

Though venomous the banded krait is a shy snake, not typically seen, and is mainly nocturnal. When harassed they will usually hide their head under their coils, and do not generally attempt to bite, though at night they are much more active and widely considered to be more dangerous then. During the day they lie up in grass, pits or drains. The snakes are lethargic and sluggish even under provocation. They are most commonly seen when it rains.

The banded krait feeds mainly on other snakes, but is also known to eat fish, frogs, skinks and snake eggs. The Checkered Keelback, Buff-striped Keelback, Rat snake, and Cat snake are among the snakes commonly eaten by the Banded Krait. Very little is known about its breeding habits.