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14 Fascinating Facts About Nilgiri Burrowing Snake

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The Nilgiri burrowing snake, also known as the Indian burrowing snake or the Kukurti kuraichi in Tamil, is a unique and fascinating species native to the Western Ghats of India. With its peculiar appearance and habits, this snake has captured the attention and curiosity of scientists and naturalists alike. In this article, we’ll explore 14 fascinating facts about the Nilgiri burrowing snake that will leave you in awe!

  1. Unusual Habitat: The Nilgiri burrowing snake can be found in the Western Ghats of India, primarily in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It prefers to live in grasslands and areas near human settlements, where it can find its favorite prey.

  2. Subterranean Lifestyle: As the name suggests, this snake is adapted to a subterranean lifestyle, spending most of its time underground. Its flattened head and body make it well-suited for burrowing through soft soil and sand.

  3. Ground Dweller: Despite being primarily an underground dweller, the Nilgiri burrowing snake has also been observed in trees and bushes. It is known to climb vines and branches in search of prey or shelter.

  4. Dietary Preferences: The diet of the Nilgiri burrowing snake mainly consists of reptiles such as lizards, frogs, and small mammals like rodents and shrews. It is also known to eat insects and other invertebrates.

  5. Female-Dominated: This species exhibits a unique behavior pattern where females are dominant over males. Females are more aggressive and territorial, while males are submissive and typically flee from confrontation.

  6. Venomous But Non-Threatening: The Nilgiri burrowing snake is venomous, but it poses no threat to humans. Its small fangs cannot penetrate human skin, and its mild venom causes only minimal pain and swelling if injected.

  7. Reproduction Habits: Like many other snakes, the Nilgiri burrowing snake lays eggs instead of giving live birth. Females lay their eggs in underground chambers or crevices, where they hatch after approximately two months.

  8. Temporary Parents: After laying their eggs, female Nilgiri burrowing snakes abandon them to fend for themselves. The newly hatched babies are independent from the moment they emerge from their eggs.

  9. Average Life Span: The lifespan of the Nilgiri burrowing snake is relatively short compared to other snake species, ranging from 2-4 years in the wild. However, captive individuals can live up to 7-8 years under proper care and conditions.

  10. Color Variations: These snakes exhibit a range of colors, including shades of brown, grey, and black with white or yellowish markings on their scales. This variation in color helps them blend in with their surroundings for camouflage.

  11. Salt Glands: One unique feature of the Nilgiri burrowing snake is its salt glands, which allow it to excrete excess sodium from its body through specialized pores near its eyes. This adaptation helps it cope with the high levels of salt in its underground habitat.

  12. Nocturnal Activity: Like most snakes, the Nilgiri burrowing snake is primarily active during the night. It emerges from its burrows to hunt for prey or search for mates when the sun goes down.

  13. Threatened Status: Due to habitat loss and degradation caused by deforestation and human encroachment, the Nilgiri burrowing snake is classified as a threatened species on the IUCN Red List. Conservation efforts are needed to protect this unique and fascinating creature.

  14. Local Significance: In Indian folklore, the Nilgiri burrowing snake is considered a symbol of longevity and good fortune. It is often depicted in traditional arts and crafts, representing prosperity and fertility.

In conclusion, the Nilgiri burrowing snake is an enigmatic and remarkable creature that has captured our imagination with its mysterious habits and adaptations to life underground. By learning more about this unique species, we can appreciate the diverse range of life found in the Western Ghats and work towards protecting its delicate ecosystems.


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