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Rare snake sighted in West Bengal

Ananya Dutta


The first time that a live specimen has been reported

Very little is known about the species or its habitat


KOLKATA: A rare species of snake, spotted only twice in the past, was discovered at a home in north Bengal's Jalpaiguri town, West Bengal Forest Department officials told The Hindu on Thursday.

“This discovery is particularly exciting because this is the first time that a live specimen of the reptile — the Coral Red Kukri snake – has been reported,” said Divisional Forest Officer (Wild Life II) Sumita Ghatak. The snake was orange in colour and 88 cm long. Very little is known about the species or its habitat. It is mildly venomous.

The Oligodon Cheriensis, first discovered in 1936, is named after the place in Uttar Pradesh where it was reportedly sighted for the first time. A sighting was also reported near Mahendranagar in Nepal.

“The discovery took place on September 13 after a house owner contacted us to capture the snake. When we caught it, we realised it was a species we had not seen before.” Experts and NGOs were consulted to identify the specimen, that was kept under observation for about 10 days. It was released into the wild on September 25.

“Tissue samples from the snake have been collected for analysis and we are going to conduct further investigations about the snake. There is no record of the Dooars being a natural habitat for this snake, and its sudden appearance is very interesting. We are now on the lookout for more specimens so that more can be studied about its habitat and behaviour.”

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