Elachistodon westermanni occurs in South Asia. In India, this species is known from Purnea in Bihar, Mal, Bardighi and Calcutta in West Bengal, Wardha, Akola and Amravathi in Maharashtra, and from Corbett National Park in Uttaranchal (Sharma 2003, Captain et al. 2005, Nande and Deshmukh 2007, Dandge 2008). This species has recently been recorded from Surat and Bhavnagar (Vyas 2006), and also from Jesar, Mankhetra and Sasan in Gujarat (Vyas 2010) and the Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh (S. Thakur pers comm. March 2011). There is a recent record from the buffer zone of the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in Chandrapur District, Maharashtra (S. Wazalwar unpubl. data). It has also been recorded in Rangpur, Bangladesh (its type locality, see Smith 1943) and Chitwan, Nepal (Captain et al. 2005). It has been recorded from 40 to 1000 m asl.
Distribution: Bangladesh, India (Uttar Pradesh, Bhavnagar city, Gujarat state [Piyush Lashkari, pers. comm.; Bhavnagar, Surat [Raju Vyas, pers. comm.], Maharashtra), Nepal
Type locality: Rangpur, Bengal
Habitat and Ecology
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2010Least Concern
- 1996Data Deficient
- 1994Rare(Groombridge 1994)
- 1990Rare(IUCN 1990)
Indian egg-eating snake
The Indian egg-eating snake (Elachistodon westermanni) is a rare species of egg-eating snake found in the Indian subcontinent. It is also called Westermann's snake, reflecting its scientific name. The snake belongs to the monotypic genus Elachistodon.
The Indian egg-eating snake is found in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. Recent discoveries of the species come from Maharashtra and Gujarat. It was thought that the species was extinct in 1969, as listed in Red Data List. However, the species was rediscovered at Amravati district in Maharashtra state in 2004.
This species is glossy brown to black, with bluish white flecks posteriorly and a middorsal creamy stripe from neck to tail tip. The head is brown with a black arrow mark. The ventrals are white with brown dots. Adults may attain a total length of 78 cm (31 inches), with a tail 11 cm (4¼ inches) long.
It is nocturnal.
Elachistodon westermanni has special adaptations such as a vertebral hypapophysis, a projection of the backbone, that juts into the oesophagus and helps in cracking eggs. The only other snakes that share these egg-eating adaptations are in the genus Dasypeltis found in Africa.
- Captain, A. & F. Tillack & A. Gumprecht & P. Dandge (2005). "First Record of Elachistodon westermanni Reinhardt 1863 (Serpentes, Colubridae, Colubrinae) from Maharashtra State, India.". Russian Journal of Herpetology 12 (2): 156–158.
- Nande R and Sawan Deshmukh (2007). "Snakes of Amravati district including Melghat, Maharashtra, with important records of the Indian egg-eater, montane trinket snake and Indian Smooth Snake". Zoos' Print Journal 22 (12): 2920–2924. doi:10.11609/jott.zpj.1653.2920-4.
- Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the Snakes in the British Museum (Natural History), Volume III. London.
- Dandge, Parag (2007). "Food and feeding habits of Elachistodon westermanni Reinhardt, 1863.". Hamadryad 32 (1).
- Gans, Carl, Oshima, Masamitsu, 1952. Adaptations for egg eating in the snake Elaphe climacophora (Boie). American Museum novitates ; no. 1571 
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