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Banded krait

Basic information:

Chinese name:金环蛇
Latin name: Bungarus fasciatus

English name: Banded Krait

Description:

B. fasciatus is easily identified by its alternate black and yellow crossbands, 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 eyes are black. It has arrowhead-like yellow markings on its otherwise black head and has yellow lips, lores, chin and throat.

The longest banded krait measured was 2.125 meters (6 ft 11.7 in) long, but normally the length encountered is 1.8 meters (5 ft 11 in).

The snake has an entire anal plate and single subcaudals. The tail is small and ends like a finger-tip, generally being one tenth the length of the snake.

 

Geographic range

The banded krait occurs in the whole of the Indo-Chinese subregion, the Malaysian peninsula and archipelago and Southern China. The species is common in Assam, India and Bangladesh, but becomes progressively uncommon westwards in India.

It has been recorded from eastwards from central India through through Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and southern China (including Hong Kong) to Malaysia and the main Indonesian islands of Borneo (Java and Sumatra), as well as Singapore.

In India, it has been recorded from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,Northeast India, Orissa, Tamilnadu and West Bengal. It has recently been recorded from Hassan district in Karnataka also.

 

Venom:

The venom of the banded krait mainly contains neurotoxins (Pre- and Post-synaptic neurotoxins) with LD50 values of 2.4 mg/kg—3.6 mg/kg SC, 1.289 mg/kg IV and 1.55 mg/kg IP.The quantity of venom delivered averages out at 20–114 mg.[10] Engelmann and Obst (1981) list the venom yield at 114 mg (dry weight).The major clinical effects caused by the venom of this species include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, dizziness, etc. Severe envenomation can lead to respiratory failure and death may occur due to suffocation.There are few authenticated records of human beings having been bitten.

A clinical toxinology study gives an untreated mortality rate of 1—10%, this may be due to the fact that contact with humans is rare and when bites do occur the rate of envenomation when biting defensively is thought to be very low. Presently, a polyvalent antivenom developed by Alan Van Dyke is available in India.

 

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