Reptiles of Kanha


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Python: Massive (a full grown adult is usually more than 5 metres long), non-poisonous (it doesn’t need to be poisonous) and nocturnal, it strangulates its prey and then swallows it.

You can carry out a guessing game by trying to guess its last meal from the size of its stomach bulge. Feeds on mammals, birds and reptiles indiscriminately but seems to prefer mammals. Loves to eat Langurs and can even swallow Chitals. Its stomach contents are recorded to have swallowed even the leopard. Look out for it near the numerous streams and waterholes that Tala range is so generously endowed with.

Krait: Two species The Common Indian Krait and the Banded Krait occur in the Park. The common krait is slow moving but extremely poisonous and is frequently found near or in water. Bites only on provocation but cases are known of people sleeping on ground being bitten when unknowingly rolling on or placing a limb in their sleep on a krait moving nearby. Venom is more toxic than that of Cobra and usually fatal. The banded krait is much less poisonous, nocturnal and very rarely sighted.

The Indian Cobra: Forms its hood by spreading the cervical ribs of the neck region and is deadly poisonous. It spreads its hood, makes a hissing sound and raises its head when alarmed. It is frequently found in or near water and is a strong swimmer. Eclectic in habit and absent in deserts and hills above 1800 m.,it is usually not aggressive; the young-ones though, are much more dangerous than adults, being more easily excited and prone to attack. Feeds mostly on rats, frogs, toads and is an invetarate egg-stealer. Cobra bite is not always fatal, cases of recovery equaling, if not exceeding, cases of death.

The Russel’s viper: The Russel’s viper is thick with a body measuring up to 5 feet. Unlike the krait and the cobra, the fangs are long and foldable. It is nocturnal and deadly poisonous.

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The other snakes seen in the Park are the red boa, the sand boa, the checkered keel back snake, the green whip snake – all non-poisonous – the green whip snake is mildly poisonous, its poison resembling that of cobra, so far as symptoms go. And that is not all There are other equally interesting animals in the Park although sighted rarely due to their shy and nocturnal habits. The Jungle cat, the Ratel, the Honey badger, the ant-eating pangolin, the porcupine (number of needles go up to 30,000!), the Palm civet, the small Indian civet, the toddy cat, the hare, the squirrels, the shrews, the mouses – just to name a few. There are five species of bats reported – the fulvous fruit bat, the Indian pipestrelle, the flying fox, the eastern horseshoe bat and the false vampire. Two turtles namely the softshell turtle and the flapshell turtle and larger lizards like the Fat-tailed Gecko, the Indian Monitor and the Forest Calotes are also seen quite easily. The common mongoose and the Ruddy mongoose do keep making regular appearances.