Non-Venomous Snakes in India
India is what is called a "megadiverse country", as it harbors an amazingly high number of endemic species. In fact, it is home to more than 6% of all the reptile species in the world, and even more than that if we talk only about snakes.
There are more than 270 different snake species in India, and only about 60 are venomous - the rest are not. These non-venomous snakes include the reticulated python, the striped keelback, vine or whip snakes, brahminy blind snakes and many more. In fact, you can find snakes in India from deserts to the snow-covered Himalayas, as well as semi-deserts, swamps, lakes and many more habitats.
Do you want to learn more about non-venomous snakes in India? Stay with us at AnimalWised and read on!
Natricinae: The Keelbacks
As we explained in the article on differences between colubrids and snakes, the former are almost in all cases non-venomous and small to medium-sized. They are scientifically classified into the Colubridae family. Within that family we find the Natricinae subfamily, which includes some snakes known as "keelbacks" with noticeable ridges on the dorsal scales.
- Green or lead keelback: Known scientifically as Macropisthodon plumbicolor, this medium sized reptile is found in the forested regions of India at the height of 1500 meters above sea level.
- Checkered keelback or Asiatic water snake: Known as Xenochrophis piscator, this medium-sized non-venomous snake is found at a height of 3000 meters. It inhabits freshwater lakes and rivers and feeds on water frogs and small fish. You can see one in the picture below.
- Split or olive keelback: Known as Atretium schistosum, this small to medium-sized snake lives in peninsular and central states of India at elevations of 1000 meters or above.
- Buff striped keelback: Known scientifically as Amphiesma stolatum, this non-venomous snake of India resembles the Asiatic water snake. It is found at elevations of 2000 meters in hilly regions.
Constrictor snakes in India
While keelbacks catch their prey with their teeth, other non-venomous snakes subdue their prey by constricting and choking them. Indeed, you can find some constrictor non-venomous snakes in India, including the following:
- Indian python (Python molurus): This large python is one of the most impressive non-venomous snakes in India, as it can grow to 3 m (9 ft 8). Locally, this snake is called ajgar. It can be found over the entire subcontinent. inhabiting grasslands, swamps and rocky places. It is found from the eastern Himalayas to the mangrove forests of Sunderbans and the arid scrublands. As most constrictors, the Indian python crushes its victims - warm-blooded mammals in most cases.
- Oriental or Indian ratsnake (Ptyas mucosa): This large colubrid snake has been able to adapt to just about every environment. While they can eat many different animals, they get their name from their favorite prey: rats. In India, this non-venomous snake is known as dhaman. The Indian ratsnake is one of the longest and quickest-moving snakes, and it is generally found in urban areas where there are rodents in plenty. You can see a ratsnake in the picture below.
- Trinket snake (Coelognathus helena): This is a medium-sized yet slender colubrid snake found at high elevations. This constrictor species is native to Asia, and it also lives in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It can be quite aggressive, and it feeds on rodents and lizards.
Banded Snakes in India
- Banded racer (Argyrogena fasciolata): A small-sized snake that inhabits the Indian plains, the banded racer lives among bushes and tall grass as well as foliage. It is one of the most common non-venomous snakes in India.
- Banded or common kukri (Oligodon arnensis): This medium-sized colubrid snake is notable for the crossbands on its body. It inhabits high altitudes in the Himalayan region of India, as well as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Other non-venomous snakes in India
- Bronzeback (Dendrelaphis tristis): This medium-sized slender tree-snake is found at heights of 2000 m. Low bush and thorn branched trees are their common haunts. It can be found on tree tops in southern India and the Himalayan foothills.
- Common cat or Indian gamma snake (Boiga trigonata): This colubrid snake can be found in high altitudes, near the Himalayas and in the western state of Maharastra. Its aspect resembles that of the venomous and dangerous saw-scaled viper, but it isn't a risk to humans.
- Diadem snake (Spalerosophis diadema): Sometimes called "royal snake", this large-sized colubrid is found in desert and semi-desert areas of northwestern India, from Kutch to Jammu, although it inhabits many other Asian and African countries. It can even be found in cities.
- Dog-faced water snake or New Guinea bockadam (Cerberus rynchops): This medium-sized colubrid snake can be found in coastal areas, as it inhabits mangrove forests, salt pans, abandoned creeks, and estuaries.
- Golden tree snake (Chrysopelea ornata): This small to medium-sized snake can be found in India, north of the eastern states of Bihar and Odisha. This snake inhabits large trees and can glide for considerable distances, creating the impression of flying. This snake is actually venomous to an extent, but its venom is so mild it only affects small animals. You can see a golden tree snake in the picture below.
Now that you know about the different types of non-venomous snakes in India, don't miss the following articles:
- Are there venomous snakes in the UK?
- The 10 most dangerous animals in India
- 10 native monkeys of India
- What is a naga in Hinduism?
In the picture below you can see a common cat snake.
If you want to read similar articles to Non-Venomous Snakes in India, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.