Monday, July 21, 2008

Rare Species of Snake documented in Mahdei Region

A rare species of snake – the ‘Olive Forest Snake’ (Rhabdops olivaceus) has been documented in the Chorla Ghats area of the Mahdei region of North Goa.

The Olive Forest Snake is a non-venomous semi-aquatic snake that is found in hill forests of the Western Ghats and is Endemic to India. Nocturnal in nature, the feeding habits and behavior of this species are poorly known and the range extension is also very sketchy.

An Olive brown colored snake with black spots along the body length, the Olive Forest Snake is a slender bodied snake with smooth scales and a thin tail. The specimen measured 11 inches in length and was found in leaf litter in broad daylight, in a mixed moist deciduous forest patch at 750 meters above sea level. The specimen was in good health condition and was observed to have recently shed its skin too.

Earlier records of this snake include only from very few localities in the Western Ghats- Wynad in Kerala, Kadur and Castle Rock in Karnataka and Koyna in Maharashtra. The find has been reported to the Indian Herpetological Society for information.

The find has added yet another species to the diversity list of Snake species in the Mahdei region. The snake was documented by a team of wildlife volunteers that included Rupesh Gaonkar , Sushma Gaonkar and others working under the guidance of Nirmal Kulkarni, herpetologist and researcher of the Mahdei region. The specimen was released into the wilds after scale count data, measurements and photo documentation was completed.

No comments: